Country: Argentina / others
Movie Review: Better known for her 2007 auspicious debut “XXY”, Lucia Puenzo, embarks this time in an almost anticlimactic thriller set in a remote place in Patagonia, Argentina, where Dr. Josef Mengele, a Nazi fugitive, seeks guinea pigs within a family in order to develop his genetic theories and experiences. The story was based on her own book with the same name, and starts with a fortuitous encounter between Mengele (Alex Brendemuhl) and 12-year-old Lilith (Florencia Bado) who arouse his curiosity due to a poor body development and growth for her age. Right away, Mengele introduces himself to her parents and becomes the couple’s first guest in their renovated family inn. This tale of obsession and cruelty advances in a slow pace and reserved ambiance, and despite some tension around, it was never effectively applied to take our breath away. Although production values are competent, I got the sensation that this tale could have been told differently, in much less time, and surrounded in a more appropriate thrilling mood. The name Wakolda refers to Lilith’s favorite doll, which her father wanted to rebuild with a mechanical heart, turning it unique. Mengerle becomes interested and offers himself to invest in a mass production where each doll will be perfect and equal, in a subplot that worked as a too obvious symbolism to please or surprise us. The film received nine awards of Argentinean academy, including best direction, actor, and new actress.