December 13, 2017

Argentine film Luna en Leo aims to be a romcom, ends up looking like a sitcom

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Just another lame shot at the dating game

Ismael Serrano and Carla Pandolfi in a scene from Luna en Leo.
Ismael Serrano and Carla Pandolfi in a scene from Luna en Leo.
Ismael Serrano and Carla Pandolfi in a scene from Luna en Leo.
By Pablo Suarez
The story goes like this: Luna (Carla Pandolfi) and Leo (Ismael Serrano) go out on a date. They’re in their mid thirties, have had many relationships in the past, are somewhat good looking and pretty talkative. They make a decent living, but haven’t found their true calling yet — provided such a thing exists for any of them. But whereas Leo doesn’t mind, Luna is cynical when it comes to professional fulfilment. Furthermore, she’s rather cynical when it comes to love too — despite her need for romance, or precisely because of it. By contrast, Leo is more of a happy-go-lucky person and is more than willing to take the risks that a love affair, or eventually a stable relationship, would entail.

During the course of one night, at a bar and at a friend’s birthday party, they’ll exchange opinions, delve into some personal issues, discuss everyday matters, and tell some anecdotes. However, what they do most is seducing one another in as many ways as possible. Despite their fencing with words, what they really want is to establish a connection. As simple as that.

Argentine feature Luna en Leo (Moon in Leo), directed by Juan Pablo Martínez, is a romantic comedy — or at least attempts to be one, but with no luck whatsoever. It has two main problems leading to a third one. First, it hinges heavily on dialogue, dialogue, and more dialogue — as though it were a play. Not the best of possible choices, but not a problem per se. However, in this case, the dialogue is ridiculously trite, overwritten, with no subtext. Almost everything is spelled out for viewers, which is even worse considering there’s nothing nearly difficult or challenging or enigmatic to understand. So think redundancy big time — and add a good dose of unbelievably overworked statements, thoughts and conclusions.

Secondly, its mise-en-scene is identical to that of a conventional television sit-com. Again, not the most inspired choice for cinema, but there are examples in film history that defy this notion. The main problem here — the huge problem — is that it looks, feels and sounds like bad television — the kind of television that was made in Argentina back in the 1980s. Plus the glossy cinematography, typical of advertising cinema, makes the whole picture less credible. As a result, there’s no reason to expect rounded characters, which is a good because there are none. Accordingly, the performances are simply forgettable.

You may be left thinking — and rightly so — that Luna en Leo was not meant to be a film at all (it runs a little over 70 minutes). The point is that whatever it was meant to be, it was not accomplished by a long shot.


Luna en Leo (Argentina, 2013). Directed by Juan Pablo Martínez. Written by Ismael Serrano, Juan Pablo Martínez and Jimena Ruiz Echazú. Produced by 2MCINE. Cast: Ismael Serrano, Carla Pandolfi, Javier Drolas, Miguel Di Lemme, Matías De Pádova, Miguel Young, Irene Goldzer. Cinematography by Adrián Lorenzo. Musical score by Federico Travi. Sound design by German Suracce. Editing by Javier Favot. Running time: 77 minutes.

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