The narrative takes place on what should be a joyful day - Lucía and Marcelo are signing the lease on a new home - but happiness is a long way from anyone's minds except in the abstract. When the signing is delayed for twenty-four hours, Agustina Liendo's screenplay follows the two characters and interrogates their fractured relationship, questioning whether their continued cohabitation is more habitual than desirable. Where Lucía's disquiet comes largely from within, Marcelo's in conversely externalised with his temper a problem at work and the deposit for the new house – provided by Lucía's father – weighing heavily on his shoulder.
Issues like this provide a chance to paint a portrait of modern Argentina but this is absolutely backdrop to the unfurling relationship. Gamboa and Berberini are both absolutely terrific in what develops into a distressingly intense battle of wills without every sacrificing the intimately physical way in which they communicate. An argument on a roadside leave her with a bruised arm and him with a cut on his face – a gun secreted in the closet seems to be calling out to Chekov and the trip to the bank to withdraw their deposit achieves almost the potency of a heist movie. The problem is the pay-off, though. While Liendo's script ends the only way it ever could, there is a slight sense of anti-climax that undermines what is otherwise a striking and thoroughly engrossing drama.
The East End Film Festival runs from 1-12 July. Programme, ticketing details and more can be viewed at eastendfilmfestival.com. For more of our coverage, follow this link.
Ben Nicholson | @BRNicholson