El Casamiento


Reviewed by: Scott Macdonald

El Casamiento
"The film observes various individual slices of their lives, some of which are adorable, many dull."

Julia is a 65 year old transsexual woman. Ignacio is a 75 year old former construction worker, whose health is in decline. They are very much in love having lived together for decades in Montevideo, Uruguay. The Uruguayan state has recently (as of 2005) recognised Julia's gender identity, and they plan their wedding.

El Casamiento (The Wedding) begins with a recorded phone message from Julia, informing director Aldo Garay - who has documented their lives in the past - about their upcoming wedding, and asking him to be their best man.

Copy picture

The film observes various individual slices of their lives, some of which are adorable, many dull. All are respectful and intimate, and show the very real love the couple have for one another. Early on, we see Julia bandaging Ignacio's feet - "You always need two - one helps the other." She's speaking of the dressings, but it's a rather nice metaphor for the deep, mutual love.

There are several simple, adorable scenes: the pair share food on a park bench - when they leave, they're holding hands in a sweet, slow shot. There's an interesting piece of same-sex marriage commentary from the elderly Ignacio; in a direct-to-camera interview, it's abundantly clear that he sees Julia as a woman - "[I'd be] living with someone of my own sex, that ain't right!" About his upcoming marriage, he's so happy, a close, intimate shot show his eyes filling with tears of joy. " I can't wait to marry Julia," he sobs. We see them together soon after - "How can I not love you? Why? Because we started a life together." It's lovely.

There's a large collection of far less interesting scenes, and the film's pace sorely flags. Julia ends up getting her hair done twice. Each time is only barely interesting. We're privy to their day-to-day travels, applauding an accordion player on the bus. They celebrate Mass together and take communion. There's nothing about many of these scenes that intrinsically drives our interest.

With a shorter edit, this could have made a superb short-subject documentary. As it is, there are far too many dull and uninteresting moments. This is a straightforward piece of their lives, with the boring bits left in. I can't recommend it if being asked £9 entry at the EIFF 2012, but it might be worth seeing if it turns up elsewhere.

Reviewed on: 24 Jun 2012
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El Casamiento packshot
An elderly couple look forward to their wedding, made possible by Uruguay's changing attitude to gender recognition.

Director: Aldo Garay

Year: 2011

Runtime: 72 minutes

Country: Uruguay, Argentina


EIFF 2012

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