High Museum of Art: Films

Carancho by Linda Dubler

Carancho shows on Saturday, October 30 at 8 p.m. in the Rich Theatre as part of the High’s 25th annual Latin American Film Festival

 by Julie Chautin

“They’re like the Chilean miners down in a dark hole,” Linda Dubler said to me.  We were talking about the main characters in Carancho, the film that brings the 25th Latin American Film Festival to a thrilling conclusion. 

This time the hole is one that an ambulance-chasing lawyer and a doctor with a drug problem have dug for themselves.  They traverse the streets of Buenos Aires in Argentinean director Pablo Trapero’s thriller.  And you wonder if they will make it out.

Sosa (the incredible Ricardo Darin) has lost his license to practice law.  To get by, he works with a dubious organization called the “Federation.”  It sues insurance companies on behalf of poor accident victims, although most of the money from the insurers goes to the Federation, not the victims.  Even the hospitals are in on the payoffs.  Sosa is the carancho, or vulture, on the lookout for victims.

 Lujan (the equally incredible Martina Gusman, wife of the director) is an emergency room doctor new in town.  She endures long blistering hours, hassles with administration, and physical assaults by patients.  Drugs are her secret source of comfort.

Sosa and Lujan meet at an accident scene one night.  His eyes light up but she is wary.  When they meet again, Sosa offers her a plea straight from his heart, “How can I change the way you look at me?”

The road may be rocky in some love stories, but this one is strewn with potholes.  Sosa wants to reform his life and leave the Federation.  He is in deep, however, and crawling out is no easy task.

Trapero’s films Rolling Family and Lion’s Den have been screened in previous years at the High’s Latin American Film Festival, and won numerous awards at others.  Carancho is certain to win more.  Darin and Gusman are exceptional.  The direction and editing are swift and sure.  The violent scenes are unnerving.  But hope remains.  One evening Sosa convinces Lujan to go out for coffee.  We watch them through the window of the coffee shop, as passing car lights reflect onto the window like stars in the universe.  Then a miracle happens.  Sosa makes her laugh.