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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
A must seeFeb. 8 2006
- Published on Amazon.com
This is a very unusual movie. Filmed in a loose hand held camera style, it conveys, for those of us who have experienced it, the feeling of daily life in Buenos Aires, in the post 2001 crisis, like nothing I have ever seen. The story, at first glance, might appear to be simple and sketchy. A second look does reveal a complex web of relationships and attitudes towards the immigrant/emigrant experience and towards the unexpected problems it places on the concept of personal identity. The story, told from the point of view of Ariel, the youngest member of the Makaroff family, chronicles the story of three generations of that family. In the end, the story stands as a chronicle of the immigrant experience (in Argentina, and also elsewhere) The movie becomes a pandora's box where the new immigrants and the old immigrants co-exist in an often unchartered territory. My favorite character is the grandmother, magnificently portrayed by the yiddish singer Rosita Londner. My favorite quote from the movie is the rabbi's definition of "grandchildren" (and I will not spoil it for you). Despite appearances, this movie is profound and complex. Multiple viewings, absolutely worth the time and effort in my opinion, will reveal unexpected layers upon layers of meanings previously missed. The jewish theme that permeates the story, ultimately becomes a universal story, for this is the story of those who come from abroad, of those who adopt the new home as theirs, of those who cannot return to a world that no longer exists and, ultimately, of those who are desperately trying to leave in contrast with those who, having left, return to re-establish the lost ties of family and friendships. Throughout all the turmoil, and sometimes comedic response to the crisis, the constant movement and flux of the characters is mirrored in the unstable, unsteady, hand-held camera style, which, in my opinion, was an excellent choice on the part of the director. Form, in this movie, seems to be constantly subordinated to content. In this way, every element of the movie becomes a channel through which meaning is constantly reinforced and complemented. No matter why you watch this movie -content or form. In the end, you will find in it something to ponder about well after the credits have run.
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
At the Small Corner of the World: Pleasing Small Drama from ArgentinaFeb. 8 2006
- Published on Amazon.com
Shot with a hand-held camera, `Lost Embrace' (`El Abrazo Partido') is about a small world in Buenos Aires, Argentina. It is the world seen from one young male Ariel (Daniel Hendler) whose mother has a lingerie shop in the `galleria,' small-sized shopping center in downtown. You meet colorful people there - Joseph, Ariel's brother who runs grocery store; Rita, sexy internet café manager who comes to Ariel's shop and `tries on' the merchandize there, and Osvaldo, who is so `obscure' that nobody notices he is there.
But the film is in fact about Ariel himself, whose father left him and went to Israel while he was very young. (Like Woody Allen film, Ariel's Jewish roots play a significant role). Though Ariel's father sometimes calls his mother from Israel, Ariel has never met him in person. And probably he doesn't want to, for Ariel wants to get a Polish nationality in order to get out of this country and live in Europe.
This small Argentine film might not appeal to you if you're waiting for twists and turns in the plot. Nothing big happens in `Lost Embrace.' Though, in his frequent voiceover, Ariel says he is going to leave the country, his brother (and we) know that he lacks the will to really do so, and perhaps no character want to leave this galleria, the comfortable corner in the wide world the time has forgotten. Even when some secrets are revealed, Ariel never screams or cries. We know he is deeply frustrated at the way he lives his aimless life, and no doubt he is feeling his pains somewhere in his heart, but he is kind of a character who would keep running in pain, instead of crying.
I for one liked the characters and several episodes about themselves - such as Ariel's conversations with Korean shopkeepers, or the songs that his grandmother sings - but I also prefer more dynamic story with emotional power. There is story, emotion and power in `Lost Embrace' but they are often shown as if seen from the observer's viewpoint. Director Daniel Burman is a compassionate and careful observer, and he lets us feel the changes happening in Ariel, but the changes are presented in a subtle way, and you have to be careful to find them out.
`Lost Embrace' is not a film for everybody. It is not about famous people or beautiful landscape. Though there is a story about a father-son relation, it is shown in a more realistic way, not in a soap-opera fashion. That is exactly the charm of this small film, and the small world in downtown Argentina it depicts.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
a strong second installment in Daniel Burman's trilogy.......April 29 2008
- Published on Amazon.com
EL ABRAZO PARTIDO (LOST EMBRACE), Daniel Burman's 2003 release, is an engaging, humorous and intelligent continued look at the Jewish experience in Argentina. Ariel (Daniel Hendler), a recent college dropout, spends his days helping (I use this term loosely) at his mother's lingerie shop. Meanwhile, he ponders why his father abandoned the family and divorced his mother before Ariel was even born. The young man tries to escape his deep sadness through trysts with Rita, a sexy clerk at an internet store, as well as planning a trip to Europe to reclaim his Polish roots (possibly becoming a Polish citizen). He also encounters his ex-girlfriend, now pregnant with his child.
I believe that this film is a far stronger installment in comparison to WAITING FOR THE MESSIAH (ESPERANDO AL MESIAS), the first in this series. The characters are engaging and intelligent. We get a great sense of the diversity of cultures that exist side-by-side in Buenos Aires, Argentina. In the mall, where most of the action takes place, Ariel works alongside Koreans, Italians, and others of Jewish background. It's great to see people interact with each other in such a natural and believable way. Cultural (and language) clashes are inevitable and play out amongst the characters (at times, hysterically so!). Filmmaker Daniel Berman's choice in casting the characters from his first film in this one (even going by the same names!) was a wonderful idea. Though, the scenarios are different, themes of family and identity are prevalent in this story, not unlike the last one. Please watch this film when you get a chance. I definitely recommend it.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Searching for Identity While Living in the Midst of ItNov. 25 2007
- Published on Amazon.com
EL ABRAZO PARTIDO (LOST EMBRACE) not only succeeds in presenting a microcosm of society by focusing a story on the Jewish 'ghetto'/ mini-mall in Buenos Aires, it also captures the audience's attention in the age-old struggle for finding roots or identity. It is a beautifully sculpted story, composed of bits and pieces of tales from the vantage of many of the characters, told (and acted) with a tender honesty that makes the simple story warmly compelling. Director/writer (with Marcelo Birmajer) Daniel Burman bring this little tale of family struggle to life and the journey toward the Lost Embrace is an enriching one.
Ariel Makaroff (Daniel Hendler) is at odds with his family's history: fleeing from Poland to Buenos Aires in World War II to escape persecution of Jews, the family Makaroff have settled into a simple existence in running shops the mall. Ariel helps his mother Sonia (Adriana Aizemberg) run a lingerie shop called Elias Creations, named for Ariel's father who has long ago deserted his family to flee to Israel to fight the wars there. While Ariel takes advantage of the sultry lingerie clientele, such as the much older and seductive Rita (Silvina Bosco) to fill his days, he is discontent and decides he will become a European by obtaining a Polish passport from documents he gathers from his reluctant grandmother (Rosita Londner) who is the only family member born in Poland. He is abetted and simultaneously discouraged by those who surround him in the mall, but Ariel's drive to move to Europe is grounded in much deeper concerns: he longs to settle the abandonment issues with his father Elias (Jorge D'Elía) and find his own identity freed from the failing economy of Argentina which impacts all those he loves. The fact that his father returns to Buenos Aires as Ariel is ready to leave alters the lives of everyone and the manner in which the father and son address the 'lost embrace' is at once heart-warming and humorous.
Much of the joy of this little film comes from the rapid pacing and the style of gradually allowing the viewer to discover all of the idiosyncracies of the characters. The acting is first rate, and camera work is in keeping with the flow of the story, and the musical scoring manages to find the right mixture of each of the elements of the shopkeepers' ethnic backgrounds. it is a magical film - food for the soul! Grady Harp, November 07
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
No small feat...April 13 2007
- Published on Amazon.com
"Lost embrace" (= "El abrazo partido") is a small but engaging Argentinian film, directed by Daniel Burman. Not a lot happens, but at the end of this movie the spectator feels that he understands the main characters and their place in the world, and that is no small feat.
The story is told from the point of view of Ariel (Daniel Hendler), a young man that lives in downtown Buenos Aires, and works at his mother's small lingerie shop. He doesn't know what he wants to do with his life, and is looking into the possibility of immigrating to Europe. In order to do that, he needs his granmother's Polish passport. Ariel's grandmother is a survivor of the Holocaust that only wants to forget about the past, and is not comfortable with the idea of his grandson leaving Argentina. Notwithstanding that small conflict set almost from the beginning between Ariel and those that want him to stay, the real question is not whether Ariel will be able to do so, but rather if that will be the solution to his problems.
Of course, there are many other things that make "Lost embrace" a film that you will find interesting, for example Ariel's colorful family, the vivid way in which the director shows us the neigborhood in which they live and work, or the manner in which he manages to convey what the mood of many people was like after the Argentinian economic crisis of 2001. All the same, the struggles of a young man to grow and come to terms with his past and his present are at the center of this beautiful film, a film I recommend to those that like to watch stories that feel real.