Toronto Film Festival 2012 – 7 Boxes (7 Cajas) 2012

September 13th, 2012
Author: Meredith Taylor
Directors  Juan Carles Maneglia Tana Schembori

Cast           Celso Franco, Lali González, Víctor Sosa, Nico García

Script         Juan Carlos Maneglia

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105 min    ***   Spanish-subtitled    Genre: Thriller, Action

Although fleetingly reminiscent of Hollywood suspense thrillers, this lo-fi crime caper has its roots much further back. With the upcoming BFI/NFT Ealing Studios retrospective in October, it brings to mind the The Lavender Hill Mob (1951), with its bungling criminals, street-savvy kids, honour among thieves and urban setting. That and Meirelles’ sublime 2002 film City Of God.  Likewise, 7 Boxes simply could not have been made on 35mm; with the imaginative, progressive choice of camera angles, some lightning set pieces not to mention the nighttime low-light location of the Asuncion outdoor market bazaar.

First-time feature filmmakers Juan Carlos Maneglia and Tana Schembori should be rightly proud of their debut. They’ve worked together extensively before, but never on a feature, which Juan Carlos also wrote and edited. This accomplished calling card should do well at the festivals and, if there’s any justice, eventually break out onto the arthouse circuit in Europe and beyond.

There are a few holes for any lurking perfectionist, but certainly nothing wide or gaping enough to prevent anyone from enjoying this romp and the cast are just gorgeous: Celso Franco and Lali Gonzalez in particular are at once entertaining, convincing and, one has to say, hugely photogenic. Not a bad combination when you’re in a charming film and just 17. AT


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