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Lake Tahoe (DVD Review)

4 Nov, 2009 By: Billy Gil

Street 11/10/09
Film Movement
$24.95 DVD
Not rated.
In Spanish with English subtitles.

In the era of Facebook, it is sometimes hard to accept that a movie is going to be slow. So forgive Lake Tahoe for its rambling style and its long shots of the wide expanse of the Yucatán peninsula area of Mexico that match the periods of time in which not much happens in the film. Somewhere along the way, Lake Tahoe catches you off guard and takes you through a unique tale of grief and how it manifests itself in the unwitting.

The film’s central character, Juan, is a teenager running away from something. His car breaks down in the boonies, and he is left to wander aimlessly looking for an elusive car part. He meets along the way a tired old man who treats his dog like a person and mistakes Juan for a thief; a spirited young mother who takes her baby to punk shows; and a boy about his age who can fix Juan’s car, if Juan will indulge him an ear to listen to his enthusiasm for Bruce Lee and watch him practice his nunchuck skills.

Back home, Juan’s brother sits outside in a tent and his mother sits in the bathtub, unwilling to get out.

Director Fernando Eimbcke’s quiet and personal film is languorously told and reminded me a bit of last year’s Wendy and Lucy, which similarly followed a lonely wanderer and the people she encountered. Eimbcke’s characters seem resigned to the things that befall them, and their desperation seeps out rather than explodes. 

Along with this memorable movie comes the funny French short film Noodles, which relates how a man reacts when a knockout walks into the noodle house at which he’s eating. 

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