Quirky in any language – Medianeras review

Medianeras - Starring Javier Drolas, Pilar López de Ayala, and Inés Efron. Directed by Gustavo Taretto. Rated M. By Simon Miraudo.

Medianeras plays the Perth International Arts Festival from March 26 to April 8. Click here for more details.

Gustavo Taretto’s Argentine rom-com Medianeras owes a lot to quirky American cinema. Fans of Wes Anderson and Miranda July will find a lot to adore in this unconventional love-story; from the Jon Brion aping score to the eccentric habits of its two central characters.

There’s web-designer Martin (Javier Drolas), a hypochondriac with certain obsessive compulsions who was abandoned by his girlfriend and left to care for her Pomeranian pup. Across the street lives Mariana (Pilar López de Ayala), a trained architect employed as a store-front window dresser, who is battling her own phobias; specifically, a fear of elevators and human interaction (she much prefers the company of her mannequins, and poring over Where’s Wally books).

The two lovelorn locals narrate our tale, beginning with duelling depictions of their home, Buenos Aires; Mariana admires the architecture, while Martin believes its suicide inspiring (his case is helped by the fact a depressed dog ends it all by hurling himself off a balcony in the film’s darkly comic opening). They muse on their disconnected city, and our disconnected society, living online and seemingly nowhere else. It’s playful, sad, and illustrated engagingly by Taretto. This is narration done right.

Over the course of the picture, they go about their mirrored lives – sharing the same interests, fearing the same fears, walking the same streets – constantly missing one another but unwittingly drawing closer. It’s as if they’re circling a drain in opposite directions. Their journey is a delight to behold, and the inevitable conclusion so adorable I find it unlikely that it wouldn’t charm even the biggest cynic. Medianeras may test your tolerance for cuteness, but it’s an enchanting modern day fairy-tale cut from the same cloth as 500 Days of Summer and Punch-Drunk Love.

4/5

Check out Simon’s other reviews here.

Medianeras plays the Perth International Arts Festival from March 26 to April 8. Click here for more details.

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