One in a Thousand review – Argentinian teen’s hoop dreams, hanging out and hoping

Clarisa Navas’s film is a confident, visually engaging romance conjuring a world of teenage waiting and wanting

This is an LGBT urban pastoral from film-maker Clarisa Navas, set in a tough barrio in Corrientes province, north-eastern Argentina. Sofia Cabrera plays Iris, a teenage girl who appears to have been excluded from school – although that doesn’t make her lifestyle any more obviously aimless than all the people she’s hanging out with. Iris is obsessed with basketball and spends most of her days loafing around, shooting hoops, talking with her brother and cousins, and chatting with the neighbourhood kids, gay and straight. Then she chances across a charismatic older woman called Renata (Ana Carolina García), who has an elegantly wasted image; Renata has mysteriously been abroad for a while and apparently dances at a local club called Traumatic, where she appears to be on the fringe of sex work. Some are saying that she has HIV – although this may simply be spite. Iris and Renata are drawn to each other and soon they are in love.

Navas conjures up a whole world in which there is apparently little or nothing to do but participate in an endless round of hanging out, hooking up, breaking up, gossiping and lying dreamily on a bed thinking about it all. She contrives many open-ended walk-and-walk travelling shots, in which Iris and Renata just lope around the neighbourhood, chatting and scouting locations in which they might kiss without being interrupted.

Navas is clearly in command of a very distinctive, confident film-making language. This is clearly a story that means a lot to her personally, but I felt that the movie was spinning its wheels a little after a while; it is disconcerting that she relied on an act of violence to close the narrative. But this is engaging, intelligent film-making and Navas’s performers relax into the space that she creates for them.

One in a Thousand is released on 18 June on Mubi.

Contributor

Peter Bradshaw

The GuardianTramp

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