The Art Of Losing

The Art Of Losing


Reviewed by: Keith Hennessey Brown

"I love the conviction of the loser; only the loser has any." - Charles Bukowski, Notes Of A Dirty Old Man.

When a decomposing corpse is found impaled on a stake, down-on-his-luck journalist Victor Silanpa - not only hard-drinking, chain-smoking and divorced, but also troubled with haemorrhoids for good measure - is called in by Colonel Moya to investigate.

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In exchange for this exclusive, he has to write a speech for the Colonel's dieters' anonymous meeting. Aided by Estupinan, a clerk, who may be the brother of the dead man, and Quica, a suspiciously young prostitute from the Bar Lolita, Victor soon uncovers a web of intrigue concerning the title deeds to a piece of prime real estate...

Based on Perder Es Cuestion De Metodo (To Lose Is A Question Of Method, or The Art Of Losing), the best-selling novel by Columbian author Santiago Gamboa, it uses the format of the detective thriller to attack a society where corruption is a sad fact of everyday life and the only difference between politicians and gangsters is their facades and strategies.

At times reminiscent of a cross between Chinatown and The Threepenny Opera, a strong seam of black humour runs through the film and renders its unpalatable truths more bearable, as when Victor and Quica's infiltratation of a nudist colony is juxtaposed with Quica's tearful relating of how her brother was taken away by the hombres armados one night, never to return.

Slickly orchestrated by director Sergio Cabrera with good performances, particularly from Daniel Gimenez Cacho, the Spanish actor best known as the priest in Almodovar's Bad Education, and Martina Garcia, who, on this showing, may well be the hottest thing to come out of Spanish-language TV soaps since Salma Hayek.

Reviewed on: 13 Aug 2005
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The Art Of Losing packshot
Columbian corruption, a decomposing corpse, a hard-drinking reporter and a tearful tart.

Director: Sergio Cabrera

Writer: Sergio Cabrera, Jorge Goldenberg, based on the novel by Santiago Gamboa

Starring: Daniel Gimenez Cacho, Martina Garcia, Cesar Mora, Victor Mallarino, Umberto Dorado

Year: 2004

Runtime: 105 minutes

Country: Columbia/Spain


EIFF 2005

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