This dazzling rabbit hole of a film, which shares considerable DNA with cinephile Everest La Flor (MIFF 2019), sketches the ‘before’ and ‘after’ of a woman’s mysterious disappearance.
In the small town of Trenque Lauquen, a woman named Laura goes missing. As two men in love with her haplessly search for clues, the mystery only deepens and Laura’s story expands: Is it an erotic affair hidden between pages in the local library? A recollection of history’s formidable feminist icons? An affectionate study of rural Argentinian life? A botanical survey of talismanic flowers? Or a supernatural puzzle that has the whole town abuzz?
Director Laura Citarella and her co-writer and actor Laura Paredes form part of the team behind Mariano Llinás’s 14-hour saga La Flor. Like its predecessor, this epic is bewitching, expansive (unfolding over 12 chapters across two parts) and enthralled by the possibilities of narrative. But whereas Llinás’s behemoth had more beginnings than endings, Citarella’s opus is more circular – befitting the titular town’s name, which translates to ‘round lagoon’. Its various plot and genre threads are also more entwined, interlocking like an ingenious matryoshka doll. Winner of four International Cinephile Society awards (including Best Picture), Trenque Lauquen is an extraordinary achievement.
Trenque Lauquen is many things: a detective caper, a thriller, a sci-fi tale, a romance. It’s also, perhaps most significantly, a film that crackles with an inordinate fondness for storytelling.
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