A long-distance truck driver agrees to give a lift to a Paraguayan mother and her baby to Buenos Aires. Although not many words are exchanged, a relationship starts to form.
Arelationship movie, a road movie, a silent movie: Las Acacias is all these. Pablo Giorgelli has made a film that unfolds almost wordlessly, but very eloquently, and the unforced performances of its two leads make it absolutely beguiling. German de Silva plays Ruben, a middle-aged truck driver who has the regular task of hauling lumber from Paraguay to Buenos Aires. Yet this time he has a passenger, a young woman called Jacinta, played by Hebe Duarte, whom he is taking as a favour for a friend. To Ruben's very obvious dismay, however, Jacinta is bringing along her five-month-old baby. This was not part of the deal. With tremendous skill and easy charm, De Silva and Duarte show how the relationship between the two gradually changes. We appear to be living with Ruben and Jacinta in real time: just sitting there with them, mostly in silence. And yet, something is going through Ruben's head he is formulating an idea, and when we found out what that idea is, at the very end, it is exhilarating and moving. This is a very satisfying love story.
Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian, December 2 2011.
Beating a sweet retreat from exposition and event, the Argentine director Pablo Giorgelli turns his minimalist road movie, “Las Acacias,” into a swelling meditation on wounded hearts and rekindled hopes.
Here is what we know: Rubén (Germán de Silva), a dour, middle-aged truck driver, is transporting timber from Paraguay to Buenos Aires. His unseen boss has instructed him to give a ride to Jacinta (Hebe Duarte), whose 5-month-old daughter is an unwelcome surprise passenger. What we don’t know is legion — the origin of the scar beneath Rubén’s left arm, or why Jacinta declares that her child has no father — and will remain unrevealed. Yet as the journey progresses, this improbably romantic movie reels you in.
It is difficult to explain why. The scenery outside the truck window is not especially lovely (although the cinematography frequently is); the dialogue is devoid of drama; and the characters travel mostly in silence. There is no music, just the hum of the engine and the whoosh of passing traffic, and blessings of back story are only stingily doled out.
But when there’s not much to listen to, we watch more intently, noticing Rubén’s weathered face soften when he interacts with the ridiculously cute child, and Jacinta’s eyes warm in response. Trust grows in that silence, chipping away at barricaded emotions with palpable patience.
The very definition of modest, “Las Acacias” articulates emotional transformation with simplicity and grace. Rarely has a film managed to say so much while saying so little.
Jeannette Catsoulis, The New York Times, September 6th 2012.