El Rey del Once
Is an adult destined to regress back to childhood in the presence of their parents? There are some amusing moments in El Rey del Once (The Tenth Man) where Ariel (Alan Sabbagh) hangs up the telephone on his father Usher (Usher Barilka), or refuses to wear a tie against his deceptively relaxed father’s wishes. These small moments of defiance are all that Ariel has for the time being, when he returns to Buenos Aires after many years in New York. He is there to introduce his never-seen girlfriend to his father, but she has decided to stay back in New York “for a while” in order to attend an audition. It doesn’t matter so much, as Usher is seemingly too busy to see his son. It doesn’t stop him from dispatching Ariel to conduct business on behalf of his charitable collective, which serves the local Jewish community.
There’s a refreshing lack of ceremony in director Daniel Burman’s film, and this is evident in the way it leaps into key events. The mutual attraction between two characters is obvious, and so, rather than dance around it, they literally jump into each other’s arms, and it’s perfectly credible (and rather sweet).
Ariel’s loss of faith and alienation from his family is also explored. His reaction to being back in the breast of both his Argentinian culture and Jewish heritage veers between disinterest and moments where he seems overwhelmed by it all, and the camerawork abruptly changes pace to illustrate this.
Buenos Aires looks magical too, despite being the shabby side of the city, little-seen in tourist brochures. Ariel is a fish out of water, even though it’s water he once knew well. While elements of the film seem fairly perfunctory, Ariel’s cautious return to these waters makes for a most satisfactory story of fathers, sons, culture and faith.
El Rey del Once does not yet have an official UK release date.
Read more of our reviews and interviews from the festival here.
For further information about the Berlin Film Festival 2016 visit here.
Watch the trailer for El Rey del Once here: