Possible Lives

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Locarno International Film Festival

LOCARNO, Switzerland -- A beautiful woman seeks her missing husband in the cold and forbidding landscape of Patagonia in Sandra Gugliotta's engrossing "Possible Lives" (Las vidas posibles), a tale that suggests that truth is sometimes what you want it to be.

Beautifully shot in the far southern reaches of Argentina, Gugliotta's romantic mystery, screened here in Competition, should attract audiences with its "what if?" take on the vagaries of love.

Ana Celentano, a Juliette Binoche-style knockout, brings assurance to her first lead role as Carla, the wife of a geologist who disappears on one of his regular jaunts to the south. Luciano (German Palacios) is a rugged, bearded and resourceful-looking man, and she takes his departure in stride until suddenly he cannot be reached.

His cell phone has a constant busy signal, and he has not arrived at the hotel where he has booked a room. Unsatisfied by the response of authorities who are not necessarily alarmed by a husband's absence, Carla decides to look for herself.

Checking into the room her husband booked, she speaks to local police who assure her that they will begin looking when the weather improves in a practically deserted region of 2,000 square kilometers.

Things get spooky when she spots what she believes is her husband at a real estate office and he doesn't recognize her. He's the spitting image of Luciano, but he says his name is Luis (also Palacios), he's married and has lived there for six years. The concierge at the hotel confirms it.

But Carla is unconvinced, and she asks Luis to help find her a house in the area in order to spend more time with him. His enigmatic response does little to discourage her, and her quest to find her husband takes on a mystical aspect. When a car is found in the water and a corpse is recovered, she denies that it is her husband.

A character in the film refers to a phenomenon called the "illness of the south," and the film exploits Patagonia's extraordinary landscape to achieve a moody sensuousness. Palacios is effectively opaque as the man who may be someone else, and Celentano makes Carla shrewdly intelligent rather than impressionable, which serves to deepen the mystery.

POSSIBLE LIVES
El Angel Films
Credits:
Director-screenwriter: Sandra Gugliotta
Producer: Victor Cruz
Executive producer: Juan Pablo Gugliotta
Director of photography: Lucio Bonelli
Production designer: Fita Piotti
Music: Sebastian Escofet
Co-producers: Mario Stefan, Clarens Grollman
Costume designer: Mariela Fondeville
Editor: Juan Pablo Di Bitonto
Cast:
Luis/Luciano: German Palacios
Carla: Ana Celentano
Marcia: Natalia Oreiro
Concierge: Osmar Nunez
Elena: Marina Glezer
Gutierrez: Guillermo Arengo
Hospital employee: Ezequiel Diaz
Policeman: Ricardo Diaz Mourelle
Running time -- 80 minutes
No MPAA rating
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