“By turns gentle, deadpan, droll and sarcastic… one of the finest accomplishments from the freewheeling new generation of Chilean filmmakers.” — Robert Koehler, Variety

Year: 2011
Running time: 95 mins
Censor Rating: M - sex scenes, offensive language, drug use

Producers: Bruno Bettati, Nadia Turincev, Julie Gayet
Screenplay: Cristián Jiménez. Based on the novel by Alejandro Zambra
Photography: Inti Briones
Editor: Soledad Salfate
Music: Caroline Chaspoul, Eduardo Henríquez
In Spanish with English subtitles

With: Diego Noguera (Julio), Natalia Galgani (Emilia), Gabriela Arancibia (Barbara), Trinidad González (Blanca), Hugo Medina (Gazmuri)

Festivals: Cannes (Un Certain Regard), San Sebastián, Toronto, Vancouver 2011; San Francisco 2012

Sex, lies and literature: this tale of postgrad passions and literary aspiration translates Chilean Alejandro Zambra’s acclaimed novella into a nimble and highly amusing movie. Julio, approaching 30, regales his girlfriend with his novelisation of a love affair eight years earlier, all the while pretending the author is someone else much wiser and more famous. Deftly switching between then and now, Bonsái adopts Julio’s narrative style – self-conscious and spare, witty and blue – but it doesn’t entirely buy his point of view. It’s an affectionately knowing picture of arty 20-somethings beset by visions of bigger stages and mightier passions. As Julio’s original affair begins with his professing to have read Remembrance of Things Past then frantically attempting to do so, we know at once that this film is wryly alert to the uses of fiction. Cristián Jiménez’s movie nails its milieu and translates meta-literary playfulness most adroitly. — BG

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