Screened as part of NZIFF 2004
This low-key comedy of confused identity exerts its charm quietly but persuasively thanks to an appealing young man in the lead role, and a great cast playing the older people who populate his life. Daniel Hendler took the best actor award at this year’s Berlin Film Festival for his role as 30-something Ariel, unsure where he’s heading in life, but sure that it’s time to stop hanging out in the well-worn little arcade, where his mother has a lingerie shop and everyone knows him. The arcade, in a Jewish quarter of Buenos Aries, is an amusingly diverse affair, with Koreans, Italians and others of less immediately apparent ethnicity… such as Ariel, who’s feeling increasingly drawn to his Polish side. The question that perplexes him most though is why his father went to Israel to join the army, and why his mother still stands up for this man who left her in the lurch with a couple of kids. The moment of truth makes for a perfect ending, underplayed and tender, just like the film itself.