The Dark Side Of The Heart

Argentinean filmmaker Eliseo Subiela’s disappointing 1992 follow-up to his Man Facing Southeast (1986) and Last Images of a Shipwreck (1989) chronicles the misadventures of a boorish, self-absorbed, and, to all appearances, untalented poet searching for the woman of his dreams in contemporary Buenos Aires. He’s approached mainly by prostitutes, and gets along by reciting lines of his verse to passing motorists in exchange for handouts. It’s hard to sustain much interest in such an insufferable character for 126 minutes. Moreover, Subiela’s magical-realism devices look distinctly shopworn. The light satire of the Argentinean avant-garde, mainly expounded through the film’s treatment of the hero’s artist friends, shares with Woody Allen’s movies and Borges and Bioy Casare’s Chronicles of Bustos Domecq too much contempt for bohemian art, which makes it difficult to separate the wheat from the chaff; ultimately this leads to a smirking middle-class complacency about artists that seems flagrantly unearned. (JR)

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