Bombon El Perro (15)

Written by Santiago Calori, Salvador Roselli and Carlos Sorin
Directed by Carlos Sorin
Screening at FACT from 8th-14th July 2005

Reviewed by Adam Ford

The sparse mountains of Patagonia, Argentina aren't a typical location for a road movie, and the two 'heroes' of Bombon El Perro could hardly look less heroic. But the peaks provide an often bleak but beautiful backdrop, while Bombon the dog and Juan the unemployed mechanic make for a quietly heroic duo.

Since losing his job at a gas station, lonely but amiable Juan Villegas has been looking for a new identity and somewhere to belong. He has crafted elaborate knife handles, but no-one can afford to buy them. At home, his daughter tolerates his presence - in much the same way as she tolerates the screaming of her young child. When the former mechanic helps fix a woman's broken-down car, she gives him a posh pedigree 'dogo' dog instead of cash payment. At first Juan doesn't know what to do with his new best friend, but as he travels through those mountains he finds that people have a variety of suggestions.

Bombon El Perro won't exactly have you on the edge of your seat, but it could provide a relaxing end to a busy day. Though all the characters are played by amateur actors (even taking on their names), the cast easily outshines many of their highly-paid professional counterparts. In particular, Juan Villegas makes a fine Juan Villegas, a kindly but naive man who probably wouldn't last five minutes on his own. The film's greatest strength is its simplicity, and a gentle humour pervades an enjoyable if otherwise forgettable hour and a half.

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