Trenque Lauquen (12A) |Close-Up Film Review

Dir: Laura Citarella, Argentina/ Germany 2022, 260 mins.

Cast: Laura Parades, Rafael Spregelburd, Ezequiel Pierrri

Review by Carlie Newman

Lasting over four hours and presented in two separate parts, Laura Citarella’s film is difficult to put into one genre. It encompasses mystery, a road trip, relationships, supernatural elements….

Starting with the disappearance of a woman botanist, Laura (Laura Parades) in Trenque Lauquen (meaning round lake in English), it develops in different ways. With 12 chapters, the film doesn’t progress in a linear fashion but has different bits of the story followed by a completely different tale. Just when you think you know what is happening, you are diverted to another completely different aspect!

When Laura (Laura Paredes) disappears two men go searching for her: Rafael (Rafael Sprgelburd), Laura’s much older boyfriend and Ezequiel (Ezequiel Pierri) who she works with and is her probable lover. This is the road trip part as the two drive around, stopping to question locals about Laura. Then we look at Laura who in her botany work is tracking a new species of a special flower. She also becomes obsessed with old love letters that she finds in books. Ezequiel joins in Laura’s search for more information about the two lovers writing the letters.

In the second part of the film, the story concentrates on Laura which brings in the supernatural elements as she becomes involved with a sort of Loch Ness type monster in a lake.

A very slow film, or films, the narrative is disjointed and moves backwards and forwards and even sideways, but each chapter captures the audience’s attention and makes us want to know more. Not sure if we ever get all the answers but it is certainly intriguing.