Panorama | Contemporary World Cinema
The Patagonian village of Tolhuin is the setting for Carlos Sorín’s robust, universal tale of the difficulties faced both by childless parents when they adopt and the adoptees themselves. When Cecilia (Victoria Almeida) and husband Diego’s (Diego Gentile) adoptive child, Joel (Joel Noguera), turns out to be nine years old and not the baby they hoped for, the problems they face in integrating him into the community threaten to overwhelm.
Almeida brings breathtaking dignity and gentle resolve to her role as prospective mother Cecilia. While she hopes to give Joel a fresh start, rumours about the child’s past proliferate, alarming his new classmates’ parents. In one fantastic moment of insight, Cecilia likens her community to the human body: "When something strange shows up… an infection, something bad, the body encapsulates it. Expels it. Pushes it away." The speed with which the villagers turn on their most vulnerable is all too real. Achingly resonant, Joel crackles with subtle tension throughout. "Complex… low-key, powerful and engaging." - Jonathan Holland, Hollywood Reporter