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Don't Die Without Telling Me Where You're Going (1995)

Cast: Dario Grandinetti, Dario Grandinetti, Mariana Arias, more...
Director: Eliseo Subiela, Eliseo Subiela
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Studio: Cinemateca/Facets Video
Genre: Foreign, Fantasy, Latin America
Running Time: 130 min.
Languages: Spanish
Subtitles: English
    see additional details...

Love and reincarnation are the basic themes of this metaphorical Argentine fantasy. It is a serpentine tale with many interesting surprises. The story begins in 1885 New Jersey, as Thomas Edison's assistant says his final good bye to his recently deceased wife. Suddenly a vibrating zoetrope is seen and dreamy images and titles fill the screen which suddenly bursts into the vibrant world of contemporary Buenos Aires where Leopoldo is working as a projectionist in a ramshackle cinema. Leopoldo is married to Susana. He is obsessed with devising a machine that will record human dreams, an aspiration he shares with his closest friend Oscar, who has invented a robot in the image of a famous tango singer Carlos Gardel. One day Leopoldo awakens to discover that he has successfully recorded that night's dream in which he felt great love for a woman who lived 110 years ago. Shortly thereafter, he sees the very same woman standing outside his theater. Her name is Rachel and she calls him William. She explains that they have been lovers throughout the ages and have been reincarnated many times. Unfortunately, Leopoldo has no memory of her. Still they become lovers. The two come to a difficult juncture when Rachel decides that she has had enough reincarnation and simply wants to stay dead; on the other hand, Leopoldo is terrified of death and yet does not want to be forever apart from her. ~ Sandra Brennan, All Movie Guide

CINEMA PARADISO meets WINGS OF DESIRE in this fantastical and hopelessly romantic film.

GreenCine Member Reviews

How to Live by talltale April 25, 2005 - 9:07 PM PDT
1 out of 1 members found this review helpful
Remember a movie of two decades past called "Man Facing Southeast"? If you appreciate quiet films that offer a combination of story, fantasy and philosophy, here's another winner. DON'T DIE WITHOUT TELLING ME WHERE YOU'RE GOING may well be an example you'll remember as long as you have memory. Initially I was put off by its slow pace (its characters seem to be sleepwalking much of the time), but then, all the elements begin to kick in. Once the film grabs you, it won't let go. For me, the scene that did it features people of all ages, eras, colors and classes walking toward rebirth: this is one of a kind, and unforgettable.

Having just suffered through the noodle-brained "Birth," the last thing I would have imagined I needed was another film (especially one that's already a decade old) about reincarnation--a theory I've always found ridiculous. You never know. In any case, this film is about much more than a philosophy of rebirth. Its director Eliseo Subiela is no youngster; according to the IMDB he had triple bypass surgery around the time this movie was released. He hasnt made a whole lot of films, but one of them, "The Dark Side of the Heart," is among the most popular in Argentine history. I now want to see the rest of this intriguing writer/director's work. "Don't Die Without..." is certainly a fine place to begin.

Lead actor Dario Grandinetti is worth getting to know, and leading lady Mariana Arias is spectacular in her own quiet manner (this appears to be her only film appearance). It's Subiela's way with ideas, how he keeps them coming and bouncing quietly off each other, that captivates. He gives his movie ending after ending, too, but I'll bet you'll delight in each and every one. The DVD transfer is pretty awful; even that doesn't stop me from giving this one an extremely high rating.

GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 6.44)
9 Votes
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