Original title: Dormir al sol
Director: Alejandro Chomski
Writers: Alejandro Chomski, based on a novel by Adolfo Bioy Casares
Cast: Norma Argentina, Carlos Belloso, Héctor Díaz, Vilma Ferrán, Esther Goris, Luis Machín, Florencia Peña, Enrique Piñeyro, Alfonso Pícaro, Romina Ricci
Cinematography: Sol Lapatin
Edition: Alejandro Brodersohn, Alex Zito
Music: Ruy Folguera
Runtime: 83 minutes
The cardboard that corrodes the soul
By Mex Faliero
With its twists and turns between Argentina y U.S., Alejandro Chomski finally shot Asleep in the Sun, adaptation of a text by Adolfo Bioy Casares that, definitely, marks the literary author approach on the fantastic. Chomski has declared himself a fan of the writer and Asleep in the Sun is a film in which he had to put out a lot to get it done. That´s why is strange that beyond its wise visual work, impeccable art work and its dare to combine science fiction with the “costumbrista” cinema without falling in truisms, the adaptation ends up being too stiff, dispassionate, like contaminated by certain aspects of the central characters of this film.
Of course this is not a movie to discard, because Asleep in the Sun is a risky bet for the Argentinean cinema: a period film and a tragic love story that approaches to the thriller and the supernatural that appears in the limits of reality. Here, a watchmaker decides to intern his wife at a clinic, due to a disease which is never clarified completely. All is loaded with mystery in the movie, which plays with certain “costumbrismo” that, for example, Juan José Campanella (The secret in their eyes, Son of the bride) has desecrated by the side of demagoguery. Here the “costumbrismo” operates as a muffled nod over a society that, protected by neighborhood codes, hides a double standard and bonhomie quite treacherous.
One of the biggest drawbacks of the Chomski´s film is the performances. For example, Florencia Peña is out of registry, without leaving some tics from television, and the presence of Esther Goris is one of the weights the film must carry: his dialogs lines seem almost recited, dragging in her imposture a good actor like Luis Machín. In fact, when her character loses presence in the last half hour, Asleep in the Sun goes up, showing itself more fluid and less stiff. And that is, on the other hand, the biggest problem of the movie. It doesn´t seem a problem of excessive respect to the author, but a certain difficult to transmit the tedium and imposture of the characters without also falling in boredom. Only when we discover the fantastic twists of the story, the movie appears to be more free and resolute, and we manage to be interested by the conflict.
The text by Bioy is so strong and magnetic, that although the details surface on the hour, it seduces and lures us emotionally like a perfect movie from the very beginning. This shows, on the other hand, that the national cinema has in its literature a large number of works on which can be developed genders like science fiction or noir, and shine with intelligence. The positive to say about Asleep in the Sun is that Chomski took risks and, despite he was far from achieving a perfect film, his work contains some elements that makes it a curiosity within the actual national cinema. Anyway, we miss a soul, a spirit, an emotion, a vibration that Asleep in the Sun needs like the thirsty needs the water.