by Lauren Pringle, contributing blogger
La Mala Verdad, directed by Miguel Angel Rocca is a stylized piece of classic Argentine Cinema. Featuring a star studded cast and boasting great reviews from worldwide film festivals, follows the journey of a pubescent girl Barbara and her difficulty to come to terms with the hidden struggles of her private family life. With the help of a social worker who is played powerfully by Malena Solda, the investigation into Barbara’s life at home becomes clear and the strange relationship with her seemingly loving grandfather is piece by piece chipped away to reveal a dark and devilish truth. Speckled with light elements of fantasy, Barbara finds escapism with her best friend and the fantasy novel Kon Tiki. Norman Brinski adds a fantastic touch of light humour in the midst of such darkness and portrays the loving uncle of Barbara.
An aesthetically beautiful and delicate film peppered with long pauses, melancholic classical music, the use of location and lighting offers a quaint yet dark edge to the film. The acting throughout is nothing short of brilliant and the costume and set design is idyllic and authentic. A simple yet evocative story, Rocca certainly knows how to create suspense and tension. The sinister role of an abusive grandfather is executed flawlessly by Alberto de Mendoza who tragically died before the film premiered. His chilling performance is striking taking the spectator on a journey to discover the dark cynicism of his cold blooded character.
A tense and perhaps difficult one to watch, La Mala Verdad is a fine example of Argentine Cinema. Definitely recommendable for those who want to indulge in some quality acting and pay homage to the incredible talent that was Alberto de Mendoza.