Las Acacias: The long road ahead
by Boyd van Hoeij
The film is the debut feature – and thus a Caméra d'Or contender – of Argentinean director Pablo Giorgelli, who also co-wrote the screenplay with Salvador Rosell.
Las Acacias is very much a bare bones work and tells the story of a truck driver transporting timber, Rubén (Germán de Silva), who picks up a woman, Jacinta (Hebe Duarte), who was standing by the road with her five-month-old baby (Nayra Calle Mamani).
The road they're travelling on is the motorway between Asunción del Paraguay, where Jacinta lived, and Buenos Aires, where she has to visit some cousins. The distance: 1500 kilometres, more than enough to let the initial awkwardness and silence wear off and slowly be replaced by shards of conversations that reveal more about the fellow travellers' personalities and their backgrounds.
The film could easily be labelled a road movie but is not really about the quirky characters they meet on the road – except for each other. Instead, the film's simple, reduced-space conceit forces these two strangers on something that feels like a first date on wheels.
Two craft contributions are key factors in making the film work. The editing rhythms, credited to María Astrauskas, the wife of the director, help establish the film's mood and maintain audience interest, while the cinematography by Diego Poleri ensures that the film never feels too claustrophobic.
Las Acacias is sold internationally by French outfit Urban Distribution International.