Las Acacias is a drama that focuses on a truck driver named Ruben (played by German de Silva), who is told to give Jacinta (Hebe Duarte) a lift from Paraguay to Buenos Aires. Unbeknown to him, Jacinta is bringing her baby daughter, Anahi (Nayra Calle Mamani), with her. And so this atypical road movie begins.
What’s so great about Las Acacias is that there’s so much to it with so little going on. Ruben is kind of grouchy, keeps to himself, and is definitely not so sure about doing this favour… even if it’s his boss the one ordering him to. When he meets Jacinta and baby Anahi for the first time, Ruben doesn’t really want them there.
That’s it! Take a road movie and throw in a baby, and chaos could ensue… except it doesn’t here. Ruben doesn’t like babies — I think a vast majority of non-parents can relate to that — or at least doesn’t seem to warm easily to this particular baby.
We don’t learn much about Jacinta other than her purpose and that she’s there with her baby, yet the setup to Ruben’s character is so smooth that we already feel like we’re the truck drivers in the story. We see him warming to both his guests just as we warm to them — if we didn’t find baby Anahi cute at the beginning, we soon begin to fall for her charms.
Las Acacias‘ ease to make us feel like we already know these people personally, the fluidity of how it moves from scene to scene like we’re part of this road movie is what probably got director Girogelli the three important awards at Cannes: La Semaine de la Critique, in which the film got the Young Critics Award, the Golden Camera, and the ACID Award given by a jury of directors.
Though the film is carried by German de Silva and his blossoming possible interest in Hebe Duarte’s character, it is baby Nayra who steals the film. I’m serious, baby Nayra should be nominated for an Oscar: Best Supporting Actress. Even before Ruben warms to Jacinta it’s his relationship with Anahi that really allows for him to step out of the dark, lonely shadow that he has been living under.
Las Acacias is in UK cinemas from 2nd December. You can see a list of cinemas screening the film here.
This review was originally published in YAM Magazine