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Trenque Lauquen, which in the Mapuche language means ‘round lagoon’, is part of a series of films focusing on the same character: a biologist named Laura willing to explore her own freedom. Photo: Cinema Guild.
Trenque Lauquen, which in the Mapuche language means ‘round lagoon’, is part of a series of films focusing on the same character: a biologist named Laura willing to explore her own freedom. Photo: Cinema Guild.

The mysteries of Laura

After being acclaimed in festivals, the Argentine film ‘Trenque Lauquen’ is released in the U.S.

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In a quiet place, full of green spaces and boulevards, located 80 kilometers from La Pampa, Laura Citarella found the ideal location to shoot a story told in twelve chapters and exhibited in two parts.

The Argentine director also has family ties in Trenque Lauquen, although she acknowledges that it was not this sentimental factor that connected her to this land, to the point of naming her fourth feature film.

“I had already shot a short film called Tres juntos in Trenque Lauquen and I wanted to shoot there again. First, I knew I was going to have to spend a lot of time there and I always wanted to make a portrait film of that town. It’s a very cinematographic place, with locations that invite fiction. And because it is a small town, where everything is so visible, unlike the cities where things happen in anonymity, I feel that these are spaces where secrecy is very common and is everywhere,” said the filmmaker in conversation with AL DÍA.

It is precisely that intrigue and enigma that play a key role in this film by Citarella, produced in six years and starring actress Laura Paredes. In the film, she plays Laura, a biologist who suddenly disappears without a trace. Her partner and a driver —with whom she used to work— try to find her. The improvised detective work and the love for the same woman unite the two men who get to know each other almost by force; but as they try to uncover clues, they only face unanswered questions.

A VERSATILE FIGURE

Trenque Lauquen, which in the Mapuche language means round lagoon, is part of a series of films focused on the same character. The first installment was Ostende (2011), which followed Laura as she, as an eavesdropper, listened to the anecdotes of visitors at a seaside hotel in Buenos Aires province. In this new film, Laura embodies mystery itself.

“(Laura) is a curious, foreign character, who observes with distance and closeness. That allows one to shoot a lot of fictional procedures. She is a character who is stimulated by what she sees, what she hears, and that makes it possible to build fiction with those elements and to find mysteries in places where one thinks they are not. This character facilitates a form of cinema that interests us. On this path, we decided to keep trying these things and make another film where we answer everything we couldn’t answer in the previous one,” said Citarella.

Between suspense, drama and romance, the feature film also looks at the logic used by women and men in certain situations, such as the exploration of freedom and a disappearance. “The film generates a lot of empathy and, at a moment when it stops looking for explanations and becomes silent and the film begins to trust, to have more faith in the pure image, in the landscape and the photographic, people feel uncomfortable and ask themselves: but what is going on? And it is a totally patriarchal way and men are a bit victim of that. In the film, men are worked with little understanding, they are characters who feel,” he added.

IN THE UNITED STATES

Awarded as Best Latin American Film at Mar del Plata International Film Festival and acclaimed at festivals in Venice, San Sebastian and New York, Trenque Lauquen premiered on April 21st at the Film at Lincoln Center in New York. Special screenings in California and Minnesota will follow.

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