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Valentin (2002)

Cast: Rodrigo Noya, Rodrigo Noya, Carmen Maura, more...
Director: Alejandro Agresti, Alejandro Agresti
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Rating:
Studio: Miramax
Genre: Foreign, Netherlands, Coming of Age , Latin America
Running Time: 83 min.
Languages: Spanish
Subtitles: English
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Synopsis
Venerable Argentinian filmmaker Alejandro Agresti turns his lens to his own childhood in this nostalgic coming-of-age tale. Set in the director's hometown of Buenos Aires circa 1964, Valentin centers around its title character (and ostensible stand-in for the director), a nine-year-old boy (Rodrigo Noya) whose feuding parents have left him to be raised by his sage, eccentric grandmother (Carmen Maura). With his father (Agresti) visiting only occasionally, Valentin is left to look to the other men in the neighborhood for father figures, and to replace his absent mother, he warms to Leticia (Julieta Cardinali), one of his father's many short-term girlfriends. When he tells her personal secrets about his father, however, Valentin jeopardizes their relationship. ~ Michael Hastings, All Movie Guide

GreenCine Member Reviews

An endearing story by MKaliher January 28, 2009 - 2:35 AM PST
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1 out of 1 members found this review helpful
Perhaps it was the narrative from the child's point of view, but after viewing this film I thought of To Kill a Mockingbird, which was also told from a child's point of view and cataloged the wretched follies of adults. But I found this an endearing story which attempts to unlock the mysteries of the heart.

I resisted it at first, because I had read it was about Jews in Argentina, and I wasn't particularly interested in another ethnic story. And, having just experienced eight years of the Perle-Rove-Wolfowitz-Rumsfield-Cheney cabal, America's most recent flirtation with fascism, I wasn't in any mood to watch a film about Aregentina's political nightmare. But this turned out to be a universal story about childhood and family. The ethnic element was incidental, and the year in which it is set, 1969, was, thankfully, prior to Argentina's unfortunate troubles. As the director explains in his comments, all families have their trials. Those of Valentin's family were particular, and perhaps a bit unusual. But who knows what demons lurk behind the doors of more conventional families? A sitcom-ideal environment doesn't always guarantee an idyllic experience.

Carmen Maura's performance as Valentin's grandmother was masterly--as we might expect. But the surprise was the scene toward the end of the film, in which a man delivers a shirt to Valentin. In fewer than four minutes and very few lines, two accomplished actors--seven-year-old Rodrigo Noya, and a middle-aged man (I believe it is Lorenzo Quinteros)--deliver a precis of what great film acting is all about. The film is worth viewing just for that scene. It should be shown and analyzed in every serious film class.

There's never been a more endearing, geeky little boy. by SDowney December 4, 2004 - 12:09 PM PST
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1 out of 2 members found this review helpful
This film allows us to experience the military dictatorship of the late 1970's through a boy's eyes. But this isn't the focal point of the film, as it wasn't the most prominent concern in the boy's mind; it is just part of the setting. As events in the movie unfold, they are poignantly filtered through a child's mind. For anyone familiar with Argentina it will conjure up nostalgia, for those not familiar, it offers an intimate glimpse of both Buenos Aires and Argentine culture. The music in the space suit scene is by Luis Alberto Spinetta, an epic Argentine rocker worth checking out.

Charming by squad November 8, 2004 - 7:39 PM PST
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4 out of 5 members found this review helpful
My second film experience from Argentina, the first "Common Ground" was a bit weak, but "Valentin" proves to me that Argentina is able to produce a really wonderful film. The director explains that the leading role of the boy played by Rodrigo Noya, involved a cast call of 300. The lad really does carry the story with great charm. He has a natural "pluckishness" if there is such a word, to make a life for himself against less than ideal circumstances. Somewhat along the lines of "Pelle the Conqueror", and in distinction from "My Life as a Dog". He is a good boy instead of an imp. The adults in the film are very likeable except for the one heavy. There are many examples of human kindness throughout. Entire film takes place in a small neighborhood in Buenos Aires. Valentin wants to be an astronaut, and his homemade space suit scene with music is highly amusing. Really scene after scene with emotional impact from funny, to wise, to sad, to hopeful. One more thing, Miramax brings this film, and this means a quality dvd.




GreenCine Member Rating
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(Average 7.75)
20 Votes
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