Welcome to Argentina: COLCOA Review
City of Lights, City of Angeles (COLCOA)
Nicolas Duvauchelle, Philippe Rebbot, Gustavo Kamenetzky, Paloma Contreras
French filmmaker Edouard Deluc's feature debut adopts the Andean wine region as a scenic backdrop.
Mismatched French brothers take a spontaneous trip to Argentina for a cousin’s wedding and end up unearthing more family history than they bargained for in Edouard Deluc’s debut feature, a genially amusing comedy that could see continued international festival play in receptive regions.
Onetime successful songwriter Marcus (Philippe Rebbot), now pushing well into his 40s, practically drags his brother Antoine (Nicolas Duvauchelle) along on a road trip through Argentina’s wine country, although the younger man is utterly inconsolable over the recent breakup of his marriage, leaving him paralyzed by depression and barely functional. A night out on the town in Buenos Aires does little to improve their prospects, but things begin looking up when the garrulous clerk at their shabby hotel offers to take them on a tour of the Mendoza wine region en route to their cousin’s wedding.
It turns out that Gonzalo (Gustavo Kamenetzky) originally hails from the same area, although he’s concealing his true motivation for their visit – steering the pair to the country inn run by his ex-wife and her new husband. When Gonzalo’s completely inappropriate behavior ticks off his former partner and enrages her spouse, the husband chases the group off the premises at gunpoint, but not before his cute, single daughter Gabriela (Paloma Contreras) joins the trio on their road trip, further upsetting the group’s already skewed personality dynamics. By the time they reach the wedding, nerves and loyalties have been repeatedly tested, revealing surprising details of the brothers’ relationship.
Deluc and his three co-writers, including Rebbot, get the film off to a shaky start, fumbling the setup with too many confusing or unnecessary scenes, but once out on the road the narrative throughline becomes more discernable, if not entirely absorbing. The addition of Gabriela introduces some unpredictability and reduces the preponderance of male moping, noticeably perking up the comedy quotient.
Performances are agreeable overall, but without any real standouts. Although Deluc, an experienced commercials director, demonstrates competence behind the camera, supporting the mediocre script offers scant opportunity to distinguish himself. The exterior landscapes of Argentina’s mountainous Mendoza region are strikingly rendered, however, and the setting might have been leveraged to better advantage in support of the narrative.
Venue: City of Lights, City of Angeles (COLCOA)
Production company: Bizibi
Cast: Nicolas Duvauchelle, Philippe Rebbot, Gustavo Kamenetzky, Paloma Contreras
Director: Edouard Deluc
Writers: Anais Carpita, Edouard Deluc, Thomas Lilti, Philippe Rebbot
Producers: Emmanuel Agneray, JeromeBleitrach
Director of photography:Pierre Cottereau
Music: Herman Dune
Editor: Chantal Hymans
No rating, 94 minutes