How Most Things Work

"Como funcionan casi todas las cosas" (English captions) is an entry to the 2016 Seattle International Film Festival. Submitted by Argentina, I suspect that this award-winning film (Best Director: Fernando Salem - Mar del Plata Film Festival; Best Actress: VerĂ³nica Gerez - Las Palmas Film Festival) might be one of those Mars/Venus conflicts where women love it and men liken it to watching paint dry.

Personally, I was so impressed by the quality of both the directing and the acting, I didn't bother to look around to check the reactions of the men in our SIFF screening audience. Written and directed by Fernando Salem with writing assistance from Esteban Garelli, we are in a remote section of Argentina where we join a young toll-booth attendant. The road where she works has been replaced, so there is very little traffic. Her co-worker works crossword puzzles while she helps. When her father dies, she gets a job selling a book called "How Most Things Work." She plans to save her money so she can go to Italy where her opera-singing mother lives.

We watch:
  • VerĂ³nica Gerez is Celina, our restless heroine.
  • Pilar Gamboa is Raquel, her sales training instructor.
  • Rafael Spregelburd is Goldberg, her soon-deceased father.
  • Vicente Esquerre is Brian, Raquel's petulant son (he wants a dog!).
As the two women hit the road in a marginally dependable car, you can expect more than a few stops along the way. To while away the time, our would-be sales professional gets expert advice from her instructor as the boy sulks in the back seat. They find a dog that seems to be linked to a failed NASA moon shot, which delights Brian and causes a bit of alarm in the adults.

Each actress does a low-key monologue that is both moving and memorable. I'm Team Venus with this one.