Debutantes

aka THE DEBUTANTS

Movie Review by EDF

Starring: Antonella Rios, Nestor Cantillana, Juan Pablo Miranda, Alejandro Trejo
Director: Andres Waissbluth

The latest movie from South America may not be as violent as the likes of CITY OF GOD but here the violence is replaced by a very emotionally charged script and some believable performances. Even though this is Chilean director Andres Waissbluth’s debut movie, the general feeling is that it has been handled by a seasoned pro. The story is told through the perspective of each of the three main characters and each tale has its own rhythm that manages to keep the story fresh.

Two brothers go to the Karin night club to celebrate Victor’s (Juan Pablo Miranda) 17th birthday and he spends some time being entertained by one of the erotic dancers. Once finished, Victor returns to his older brother Silvio (Nestor Cantillana) who is asked to go and see the owner of the club, Don Pascual (Alejandro Trejo). While waiting for Silvio to return, Victor spots the dancer called Karin wearing nothing but whipped cream. The next day, with Karin on his mind, Victor skips school and heads back to the club to find her. He finds out that Karin’s real name is Gracia (Antonella Rios) and she works at the Roxy cinema ticket office during the day. He goes there but does not have the courage to ask her out.

The next day, a more determined Victor successfully asks Gracia out for an ice cream and a chat. They get on quite well and the following evening Victor turns up at the nightclub but Gracia quickly throws him out, as her boss would not approve. Victor and Gracia then head off on a day trip out of the city where Victor follows Gracia to a nursery and seemingly Gracia is paying for the nursery fees of one of the children. Is she the mother of the child and if so, who is the father?

Silvio has to look after Don Pascual’s house while he is away on business, leaving Victor to look after himself. Victor finds out that Gracia is Don Pascual’s property and goes looking for Gracia but he cannot find her. On top of that, Victor has lost his house keys and goes looking for Silvio at Don Pascual’s house. There, he sees Silvio with Gracia and the brothers have a fight. Wanting a piece of the action, Victor tracks down Gracia at the cinema where they end up having sex. Later, while freshening himself up in the cinema toilets, Victor is beaten up.

Silvio’s story explains why he was hired to be Don Pascual’s driver. One night while driving the Don around, they pick up Gracia and they head off to a meeting. While Don Pascual is at his meeting, Gracia unsuccessfully tries to hit on Silvio. When Don Pascual asks Silvio to look after his house, Gracia turns up uninvited and they have sex. When Don Pascual gets back, he suspects that Silvio had been fooling around with Gracia and a short time later photographic evidence appears and Silvio fears that the game is up.

The story then rewinds to give us Gracia’s perspective. We see how this coke-snorting dancer actually has her own motives and uses her role as a sex object to cover up what her real intentions are. This kind of storytelling has been done before and what we have here is a very tight script that engages your interest from beginning to end. At times, this borders on David Lynch territory for mood and for once the emotions of each character are actually well written.

5 out of 6 stars

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