Film professor Alejo Moguillansky is among the more interesting contemporary directors making films in Argentina today. His frenetic drama “Castro” appears to be an exercise in slapstick nihilism with its protagonist caught in an existential trap.
Castro has separated from wife Rebeca – he’s now in love with Celia, but his idea of turning a new page in life doesn’t seem to be happening, because he is being chased by his past, literally, in the form of his wife, and two men, one of whom is her new lover Willie, and the other, specifically hired to track down Castro. A good portion of the film is consumed in this palpably ineffectual chase through the streets and trains of Buenos Aires. Celia loves Castro, but she also wants him to find himself a job. And that’s his biggest problem, because he feels it’s his idleness that is allowing them to stay as a couple. “I have you, my head, and my body. If I get a job, one or more of the three would disappear”. He adds, “to earn a living, is to waste one’s life”. But he does find a job, or more accurately, a job finds him. One which seemingly involves a lot more purposeless ‘running’. As only expected, Castro quits the job in disgust during the final minutes of the film, whose climatic finale will also leave us perplexed.
Perhaps, a more descriptive title for the film could have been “Corre, Castro, corre”. Castro is metaphorically running away from things that most of us find necessary in order to live ‘normal’ lives, because he thinks that would be an ignorance-filled, catatonic existence. Loosely based on Irish author Samuel Beckett’s satirical novel “Murphy”, the film is set in a frantic environment, and we see people running even when there is really no need. Apart from its philosophical intentions, the film also appears to be an ode to the silent era, with its hurried pace and snappy editing, the highly visual gags, and even the piano accompaniment. But the film doesn’t really take itself seriously – its treatment is largely comedic – satire delivered through slapstick and deadpan. I get the impression that this film has been made for its own sake, it’s about the joy of film-making itself. Whether you’re left pondering about its message, or simply taking it at face value, this is an enjoyable film to watch despite its bleak outlook, it is Recommended Viewing..!
The Nudity: Carla Crespo and Julia Martínez Rubio
There are a few brief scenes in the film involving nudity, one of which is a good example of what we now call ‘sexposition’. In this witty scene, Rebeca enquires Willie, her new lover, whereabouts of husband Castro, and his girlfriend Celia, insisting he answer her questions without stopping from what he was doing, i.e., ass-licking, and it is plain to see the intended pun on Rebeca’s temperament. Domineering and quick-fire Rebeca is well played by Carla Crespo. There is also brief nudity in a bathtub from Julia Martínez Rubio who plays the character of Castro’s girlfriend Celia.