When a family growing apart decides to take a road trip from Argentina to Brazil in hopes of fixing a broken marriage, what begins as an awkward experience soon turns into the vacation that opens up each member to new and exciting experiences.
Argentine writer-director Ana Katz has a gift for capturing aspects of women’s experiences rarely found in film. Her latest is her best yet, unfolding as an alluringly breezy portrait of a middle-class family on holiday. Only gradually does its episodic narrative reveal deep wells of wisdom regarding aging, desire, self-knowledge, and the wayward nature of long-term relationships.
Lucrecia (Mercedes Morán) and Pedro (Gustavo Garzón), psychoanalysts both, have been together many years. With their two children nearing adulthood, the couple has decided to re-evaluate their marriage and declare themselves separated. Sort of. The family takes a road trip to Florianópolis, the Brazilian island city where Lucrecia and Pedro once enjoyed an idyllic getaway. They rent a cottage from another middle-aged husband and wife who are also, as it happens, on the verge of a split. Between bouts of swimming, eating, drinking, and karaoke, opportunities arise for adults and adolescents alike to find sex or romance or both. As Lucrecia’s birthday approaches, however, these carefree days prompt deeper questions about the roles we play, the love we share, and the possibilities life still offers.
At times reminiscent of the films of Éric Rohmer, Sueño Florianópolis reminds us that sometimes the lightest touch yields the richest feeling. Nothing is forced here, and everything resonates. Katz’s camera is unobtrusive and her superb cast — especially Morán, who cinephiles will remember from Lucrecia Martel’s La Ciénaga — is uniformly at ease with their well-developed characters. Take a vacation with Katz and company; you’ll come back entertained, refreshed, and, in some small way, changed.