Reviewed by: Donald Munro

Hauling timber from Paraguay to Buenos Aires, truck driver Rubén (Germán de Silva) is lumbered with two passengers. Rubén is the sort of person who shies from human contact. He doesn't want to interact with Jacinta (Hebe Duarte) and her baby Anahí (Nayra Calle Mamani). Over the course of the film Anahí brings him out of his shell, just a little.

Las Acacias is a slow subtle film which focuses on the interaction of the three main characters within the bubble of the truck's cab. It is characterised by long static shots from inside the cab. The camera lingers on Rubén, Jacinta and Anahí and on the endless flatness of the landscape.

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Dialogue is sparse. The film captures the tedium of long distance travel without becoming boring. It makes the mundane (driving, sleeping) strangely interesting. Rubén has used the isolation of travel, the solitary life driving in order to avoid human contact. For whatever reason, Rubén has cut himself off from his family and is wary of contact with others. As the film progresses he is drawn out by the adorable Anahí. The baby distracts him from driving and starts to break down his self imposed barriers. He starts to realise what in life he has missed. He gets to the point at which he offers to share mate with Jacinta, an act that is both sociable and common in Argentina. He overcomes enough of his shyness to interact a little with someone who is a stranger.

There is a growing sexual tension in the film as Jacinta, who has her own unspoken troubles, and Rubén start to interact. Throughout the film you have the expectation that something dramatic is going to happen. Maybe something will happen on the road or maybe something will happen between Rubén and Jacinta. Yet the film never strays beyond the ordinary: a nappy needs changed or Rubén needs to stop for a smoke.

Las Acacias will not appeal to everyone but if you are in mood for a slow and pensive character piece with an uplifting ending then this film will satisfy.

Reviewed on: 03 Dec 2011
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A truck driver agrees to transport a woman and her baby, not anticipating the change it may bring to his quiet life.
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Director: Pablo Giorgelli

Writer: Pablo Giorgelli, Salvador Roselli

Starring: Germán de Silva, Hebe Duarte, Nayra Calle Mamani

Year: 2011

Runtime: 82 minutes

BBFC: 12 - Age Restricted

Country: Argentina, Spain

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