by Atzin Ortiz González, contributing blogger
Milagros Mumenthaler’s solid debut “Abrir Puertas y Ventanas” has already gained the attention of critics throughout the world (it won Best Film and Best Actress for María Canale at the Locarno Film Festival, it has screened at Toronto, Guadalajara, La Havana, just to name a couple of festivals). Her intimate and minimalistic portray reveals a director with a sharp eye for detail and character study. This is a movie so meticulously crafted where each gesture, each room and each object has something to say.
The movie opens in the middle of a typical hot Argentinean summer. Marina, Sofía, and Violeta are three young sisters (beautifully portrayed by María Canale, Martina Juncadella, and Ailin Salas) who are left alone, living with each other, since their grandmother has recently passed away. Each girl is uncertain about what is there to come. They have their own way to cope with this significant death. But what this new reality has to show them (and us) is the inevitable transition to the adult world and the complex bond of sisterhood.
One of the biggest pleasures in Milagros coming-of-age film is watching how her beautifully written & carefully paced script, which takes places only within this house stuck in time, comes alive with the flawless performances of three gifted young actress (specially newcomer María Canale).
There is a masterful scene where Sofía (the middle one) puts on a record and they all lay on the couch, while listening to a certain vintage song. As the camera slowly gets closer, their faces turn into a canvas of raw emotions. Each one of them is struck differently, and they know it, but they don’t say a word. There is no need to. They just sing a long and continue with their lives, while we watch how everything unfolds with pure fascination.
The movie opened in late may and is still playing at the Gaumont Cinema.
Abrir puertas y ventanas (Argentina-Suiza/2011) / Written and Directed by: Milagros Mumenthaler / Cinematography: Martin Frias / Cast : María Canale, Martina Juncadella, Ailin Salas, Julián Tello / Running time: 99 minutos