Screened as part of NZIFF 2012

Bonsái 2011

Directed by Cristian Jimenez

Sex, lies and literature. Deftly switching between love affairs eight years apart, this tale of postgrad passions and literary aspiration wittily translates an acclaimed Chilean novella into a gentle, funny movie.

Argentina / Chile / France / Portugal In Spanish with English subtitles
95 minutes 35mm

Director, Screenplay


Bruno Bettati
Nadia Turincev
Julie Gayet


Cristián Jiménez. Based on the novel by Alejandro Zambra


Inti Briones


Soledad Salfate


Caroline Chaspoul
Eduardo Henríquez


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


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