Bonsái (DVD Review)26 Aug, 2012 By: Ashley Ratcliff
Box Office $0.02 million
In Spanish with English subtitles.
Stars Diego Noguera, Natalia Galgani.
As Bonsái opens, the viewer already is told how the film will end. We know that Emilia (Natalia Galgani) will die and that Julio (Diego Noguera) will be alone, and the rest, the narrator reveals, is fiction.
The theme about the story being fiction is woven throughout, as the characters blur the lines between deception and reality. At certain points you’re unsure whether you’re watching things as they really happened or embellishments from the protagonist. For starters, college students Emilia and Julio both fib about having read Proust in one of their first conversations. It’s this quiet desire to be deemed worthy by the other during the early stages of courtship that makes these characters relatable.
In order to impress his sweetheart, Julio says he’s transcribing a book by a prominent author, when in reality he’s writing about his relationship with Emilia. Bonsái switches back and forth between the days when their love was new and sweet, and eight years later when they’re no longer together. Julio, then a jaded Latin instructor, masquerades his story as the work of the famous author when he’s in a new sexual relationship with his neighbor, Blanca (Trinidad González).
When the film would shift to the present, I longed to see more moments with Emilia and Julio, even as they drifted apart. There was something depressing and less interesting about seeing Julio alone, which possibly was intentional from the filmmakers.
When the film would shift to the present, I longed to see more moments with Emilia and Julio, even as they drifted apart.
While I found Bonsái to be a film with great passion, I felt the conclusion was somewhat anticlimactic. By knowing the ending before the film starts, I expected a weightiness placed on Emilia’s death. Only here, the lead-up was disjointed.
Bonsái is a film that I would like to revisit, knowing that some of the deeper meanings would be unlocked a second time around.