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GIGANTE (director/writer: Adrián Biniez; cinematographer: Arauco Hernández; editor: Fernando Epstein; cast: Horacio Camandule (Jara), Leonor Svarcas (Julia), Fernando Alonso (Julio), Diego Artucio (Omar), Ariel Caldarelli (Jaras Chef), Augusto Peloso (Rojas),Fabiana Charlo (Mariela); Runtime: 88; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Agustina Chiarino/Fernando Epstein; Film Movement; 2009-Uruguay-in Spanish with English subtitles)
“Well-conceived but slight character study of a voyeur we could empathize with.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Uruguay musician turned filmmaker Adrián Biniez (“8 Horas”) directs and writes this well-conceived but slight character study of a voyeur we could empathize with, who wears two heavy metal rocker T-shirts throughout of Biohazard and Motorhead. The leisurely paced slice of life drama about ordinary lonely people trying to survive in the city, benefits from the likability of its sweet-natured protagonist Jara (Horacio Camandule). He’s a shy, lonely, bored, gentle giant bachelor; the 35-year-old security guard works the night-shift at a giant supermarket in Montevideo monitoring the surveillance cameras and on weekends as a club bouncer.

One night Jara discovers an attractive 25-year-old cleaning woman named Julia (Leonor Svarcas) on his monitor and obsesses over her, as he chooses to ignore that she steals yogurt and other small food items. After watching her every night and pining for her, he stalks her around town and observes her at an Internet accessing store, the beach, taking karate lessons, the cinema and on a blind date. How the socially awkward nice guy finally meets the girl of his dreams at the end, borders on being creepy. But the flawed anti-hero proves to be a romantic willing to risk his career to be with the one he thinks he loves.

The simple tale works reasonably well because the viewer most likely would like to see these two vulnerable misfits get together, as most probably can identify with the protagonist’s insecurities over a potential romance even if we can’t identify with the extreme actions he took in order to meet the girl. What doesn’t work that well is how stiff and apathetic its big scenes get played out, as Jara’s monotonous life sets the mood for the film and when he falls in love his excitement never completely transfers onscreen to change the languid mood.


Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”