MAURO, by Hernán Rosselli

Sebastián Rosal of the Talent Press 2014, reviews about the Argentinian film "Mauro", by Hernán Rosselli

esce from the film "MAURO" by Hernán Rosselli

Mauro by Sebastián Rosal

There are good, excellent and bad films. There are others which are indispensable or disposable. Mauro is a necessary film within the amorphous scene of current Argentinean cinema. It is necessary for more than one reason. First of all because it can be both included inside a trend of films and in a geographical space off the beaten track. In the absence of another name, this trend could be denominated southern suburban cinema, or something of the like. A line Ulises Rosell’s Bonanza probably inaugurated, and which today follows Campusano’s work. It is not a minor detail: the porteños tend to see the suburban area as an undifferentiated and dangerous mass, and they dismiss or ignore the sense of belonging the inhabitants of the different areas have with their small territories. At best, they can make schematic distinctions among wealthy, middle-class and poor areas. But the truth is there are other factors, more subtle ones perhaps (barely different dialects, the music that is listened to), which mark similarities and differences and which operate on the matter. It is not the same to be from Olivos, from Merlo or from Llavallol. And it is not the same to live on one side or the other of the train station. Mauro is a film of the south, and could probably not be of anywhere else.

Mauro, the character, is a man in his thirties with a personal past and family background both of them complicated, which include the use of drugs, a dead father and a rather crazy mother, who loves her son but provides him with anxiolytics so he can sleep at night. He has two jobs: the legal one, the blacksmith’s trade -that barely provides him with a dark livelihood-, which he shares with his heavy metal friends. The other one is a small company put together with a friend and his wife, devoted to the counterfeit of banknotes. This divided work is the mirror of the social break up which, in the last decades, has taken a vast sector of the population to turn its life into a constant struggle to survive. There lies another of Roselli’s film’s discoveries: these are not the usual people portrayed in Argentinian cinema. By focusing on them, the film establishes a small act of revenge. These are the people for whom the possibility of social climbing, of a better life, seems to be sealed off from the traditional ways. In the geographical margins, you can only grow from outside the law. If there is a deed, it won’t be heroic, and if asked to choose between fake banknotes or love, Mauro will end up choosing the former.

The sordidness of the environment is balanced however by the way in which the film is treated. It is a dry story, rough as the songs of his friends’ heavy metal band, but there is an evident affection for the characters that makes us identify with them. Mauro is lovable in his sparingness, which is only barely forgotten when he has one too many beers or when Cacho Castaña is heard on the stereo. Finally, there is a narrative tendency that does not cease, which turns Mauro into a story on those who, having lost almost everything, still make another bet.

Clara Picasso -Text Translator Mariángela Martínez Restrepo – Talent Press BA Coordinator