Ariel Makaroff (Daniel Hendler) has grown into a man in his upper twenties
among the small stores and businesses of a seedy mall in Buenos Aires where
Sonia, his Jewish mother (Adriana Aizemberg) sells lingerie. But it's
something missing in his sense of family that keeps Ariel off balance and in
search of the reason why his father Elias (Jorge D'Elia) left his family for
Israel years before, never to return. He doesn't expect to ever be able to
understand or forgive that... until he learns the reason.
In his rambling trips through the multicultural environment, shopkeepers and
other characters express frustrations, plans, unrealized dreams and the usual
philosophizing and points of view that make up a melting pot of cultures. As
he tries to find something meaningful to him (and, maybe, to us?), we meet
Ariel's brother, his friends and former girlfriend -- a lady he regrets
having left after a 10 year relationship that was all good. Why he cut it
off, he grapples with, as we, the audience, grapple with his dry search for
Until, that is, when the inevitable develops in the form of his father's
reappearance. It brings up deep emotions in both men, especially difficult
ones for Ariel to deal with. It's then that he has a long talk with Mom and
learns what he never knew and that there is a possibility of reunion. Mom,
something of a firebrand, also provides the occasional burst of sardonic
amusement, such as when she offers her son a kitchen knife so that he may put
her out of her misery. "I'm not going to slit your throat with a lekach
knife," Ariel insists.
Director Daniel Burman and co-writer Marcelo Birmajer seem to think that
endless dialogue with dramatic simmerings on the back burner amount to
emotional connection. For me, I kept wondering what I was doing here with a
guy who, while attractive enough with a wry disposition and some ironic humor,
couldn't expand his rambling role of the self-absorbed and meditative into a
more universally identifiable journey. But, that's just me. "Lost Embrace"
has caught on at the Berlin and other film festivals, indicating a rich
potential for arthouse fans.
~~ Jules Brenner