Eye For Film >> Movies >> Música Campesina (2011) Film Review
Reviewed by: Amber Wilkinson
The protagonist's country of origin may be unusual - in this case Chile - but this remains a fairly standard fish-out-of-water, culture-clash story, albeit with a mumblecore vibe, that has the unfortunate problem of peaking in the middle before gradually losing steam.
Pablo Cerda is a personable and good looking lead, with the brown-eyed twinkle of a young Hugh Jackman. He plays Alejandro Tazo - "Like tea," he keeps telling people, his attempt at clarity leaving them more bewildered than before. A lover of Johnny Cash - and in love with an American - he has headed north. But while the Man in Black remains in his heart, the girl of his dreams has proved more fickle. Fetching up in Nashville, with not a great deal of money in his pocket, he holes up in a motel on the seedy end of town, taking whatever work comes his way - from pool cleaning to hotel skivvying - while trying to form a connection with the locals.
His encounters are eclectic, from a sympathetic diner waitress to two musical hipster types who let him couch surf and share their beer and philosophy on life. "You have a nice empty head that can be filled up with loads of cool stuff," one of them tells him.
In fact, Tazo's head is anything but empty as he struggles to wrap his brain around both the alien landscape of Nashville and making himself understood. Alberto Fuguet's film is at its strongest when it examines the notion of communication, or lack of it, such as a scene in which Tazo opens up to a complete stranger in Spanish, in the full knowledge that they can't decipher a word.
But despite Cerda's likeability and some impressive cinematography from Ashley Zeigler and ambient sound work from Cristian Mascaro, which always manages to suggest a hint of loneliness even in a crowd, Tazo remains too passive. As he drifts, so does the narrative, and his lack of dynamism means that he too often fades against the dominance of what should be subsidiary characters. A typical festival journeyman of a film that is amiable but ambling.Reviewed on: 02 Jul 2012