“The Runners”, Diego Capusotto for four in the best film by Néstor Montalbano

Without a doubt, the cinema of Néstor Montalbano constitutes an exceptionality and a disruption in the panorama and history of the local seventh art. It can be affirmed that, except perhaps for the genealogical tradition that traces it back and refers to names such as Armando Bó or Jorge Polaco, there is nothing that resembles the rarity, the aesthetic quality, the proliferation of narrative genres and the bizarre plot of its films. In The runners– which constitutes the eighth feature film of his career and the fourth starring Diego Capusotto – Montalbano once again reaffirms his original, unique and, at this point, unmistakable style.

Carola Reyna and Capusotto.

The starting point of The runners It is the classic travel cliché. We are in the fifties and it is about the trip of Mabel Rosello (the always effective Carola Reyna), a lonely office worker and as strange as a Marco Denevi character, to the La Esplendorosa ranch, located in El Mojón, a distant and twilight rural town lost in the middle of nowhere. There, the woman who has just lost her father is sent by the Ministry of Agroscience to obtain the signing of a land transfer agreement by an enigmatic and mysterious landowner named Mirko Antonovich (Diego Capusotto). In principle, already in the room, Mabel does not find the usual Antonovich, but his wife (also played by Diego Capusotto) accompanied by a dear friend (Alejandra Fletchner), pioneering race car drivers who cause fascination in the family. traveler At the same time, sooner rather than later, Mabel also crosses paths with a despotic field employee (again Diego Capusotto in the third of his four characters) who seems to get in the way of her goals.

As trips often tend to be, Mabel’s trip ends up being a trip inside herself and one of those adventurous trips (adventure is defined by sociologist Georg Simmel as those episodes that interrupt everyday life and routine and add a extra life to life) that modify existence. Because, as in Manuel Puig’s Colonel Vallejos or in the mirror games in Agatha Christie’s novels, in The Splendor of El Mojón, not everything is what it appears to be and, behind the costumes, crimes and blood are hidden. under the carpet.

Capusotto and Alejandra Fletchner.

disparate universes

Resorting precisely to universes as disparate as that of Puig and Christie, but also to the kitsch and self-confidence of Pedro Almodóvar, to the suspense of Alfred Hitchcock (with literal reminiscences of Rebeca, Psychosis and Vertigo), to classic Argentine films that explore the theme of the double (The dark path, by Luis José Moglia Barth, Beyond oblivion, by Hugo del Carril, Rosaura at ten, by Mario Soffici or Under the same face, by Daniel Tinayre), Montalbano generates an explosive cocktail that delves into human passions under the conditions of repressive societies. In effect, the juxtaposition of genres and the constant transvestisms to which Montalbano appeals – to which is added the backdrop of the western and the fast-paced world of car racing – is a reflection of juxtaposed gender identities and subversive erotic desires that The characters of their creation must hide and disguise because they are considered prohibited (and condemned) in the time in which the fiction takes place.

Montalbano and Capusotto

The runners It is closely related to the filmography of its author. The most frequent settings in Montalbano’s films (and in which he seems to swim like a fish in water) are small towns (with their concomitant large hells) as occurs in Partners in crime (1998), I am your adventure (2003), The return of Pedro Cascada (2006) or For a handful of hairs (2014). TO The return of Pedro Cascada and The runners They are united by the common themes of cross-dressing and identity conflicts; to Don’t cry for me, England (2018) the setting in the sports world… At the same time, if in I am your adventure (2003) parodied the popular musical comedies of Sandro, Palito Ortega or Raphael; or in birds flying (2010) to “B” class science fiction like Ed Wodd, with its multiple references and transtextualities and its use of back projecting (particularly scenes of vehicle trips where the background is a curtain), the director’s recent release constitutes a parody of a larger cinematographic universe. But, as in the case of Don Quixote, with the parody of him, Montalbano makes the best of tributes to his reference cinema and a great melodrama and suspense film that stands at the pinnacle of his career.

Special mention is the spectacle of seeing Diego Capusotto play no less than four characters in a single film – which have echoes, but at the same time is the antipodes of the creative characters to what he is used to in his videos and television programs – and roles that consolidate him as a dramatic and even tragic actor. Or, at least, tragicomic.

The runners

By Néstor Montalbano. With Diego Capusotto, Carola Reyna, Alejandra Flechner, Alejandro Müller, Eduardo Calvo, Norman Briski. Premieres May 23. In theaters.

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