El Bonaerense

| September 14, 2004

Starting in a rural area in Argentina, Zapa, a locksmith involved in pity crimes, mostly due to his locksmith skills, is arrested after a job his boss, Polaco, set him up with. Zapa is jailed, but with the connections his uncle has, a retired police officer, Zapa is released and is sent to Buenos Aires to be enrolled in the police academy. This becomes the beginning of Zapa’s further moralistic decay in an authoritative position.
Even with his enrollment into the academy, certain facts had to be distorted in order for him to apply. Once inside, he is forced into a disorganized and chaotic environment that appears to be run independently of any authority. It isn’t until the appearance of a crooked detective, that Zapa finds a form of guidance within the force. This relationship becomes juxtaposed with his intimate relationship with his morally conscious academy instructor, Mabel. Zapa tries juggling both of these aspects of his life, but his increasing corrupt involvement with the crooked detective, takes a toll on his relationship with Mabel. After a terribly violent scene that he did not expect, Zapa reaches a reflective moment when he realizes just how fraudulent he has become. It is here that Zapa reaches the moral fork in the road and finally decides which road to take.
Actor Jorge Roman, effectively portrays the introverted, child-like naïve demeanor of Zapa that can pass as pure innocence. This only makes his corruption all the more tragic and sympathetic. He appears to be a child manipulated by the greed and power hunger of others, who use him for his willingness to please and his nature to comply. He is then forced to psychologically and emotionally grow-up in this environment that he immediately adapts to, but spiritually cannot. He becomes aware of his internal struggle through his relationship with Mabel. He appears to take out his frustration and anger during their overly aggressive sexual encounters. It is during sex that he seems to transform into the seedy environment he inhabits.
The film ultimately is not about police corruption, but rather a character study of the corruption of one’s soul. Director, Pablo Trapero, constructs an effective character piece that carries a person through several facets of external and internal corruption that comes to police his morality.
The official site is here.
This title is available in the UK from Optimum Releasing.

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