Review: “Vaquero” a Post-Modern Western

by Amy Ramirez, contributing blogger

Vaquero (cowboy):  A masculine archetype that probably exists in every culture that has ever been exposed to John Wayne, Clint Eastwood, or has known firsthand the creeping solitude and imminent danger of navigating through a vast blob of “no man” land on an icy desert night. Well, Juan Minujin’s “Vaquero” is nothing like that. The John Wayne and Clint Eastwood heroes are exchanged for a passive-aggressive Porteño (Buenos Aires) actor that spends an hour and half contemplating the icy dessert of his innermost thoughts.  Sounds like a fun flick? Surprise, surprise, it is actually very entertaining, keeping you on the edge of your seat!

Check out the trailer, with English subtitles:

Told entirely through the perspective of the protagonist, the entire film is a slightly discomforting yet intensely alluring narration of his sporadic thoughts being constantly interrupted by the characters that surround our fallen hero. Despite your inevitable disdain for Julian Lamar (Minujin) you can’t help but empathize with him.

Lamar, the 33 year old actor, is desperately looking to advance his career in show business. He seeks to get his foot in a world he does not feel a part of, so he finagles his way into an audition for a western by a famous Hollywood director. Plot is a big part of this story, so I don’t want to reveal much because it’s worth the anticipation.  The clear, fast-paced story line picks up in the middle of something and ends in the middle of something else, making the 87 minute film feels like a quick excerpt.

“Vaquero” is Juan Minujin’s directorial debut. Mainly a theatre actor, he has had the lead roles in Victor Gonzalez’s “El Cielo Elegido,” and Anahi Bernini’s “Un Año Sin Amor.”  Director of photography, Lucio Bonelli, close-ups and purpose-oriented shaky cam do a great job at capturing Julian’s anxiousness and awkward intensity.

We hope to see more films by Minujin, both as an actor and a director.


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