The Argentinian comedy by Mariano Cohn and Gastón Duprat, “Querida voy a Comprar Cigarrillos y Vuelvo” [Eng. Title: Darling, I’m going out for Cigarettes and I’ll be Right Back] is based on an engaging story by Alberto Laiseca – who himself presents the film using ‘guinea pig’ Ernesto, a drab character in his sixties living in a sleepy little town in provincial Argentina.
It is a fantasy in the lines of the American comedy “Bedazzled”, only with a twist. Here the ‘devil’, brilliantly played by Eusebio Poncela, isn’t particularly interested in Ernesto’s soul at all – he merely takes pity on Ernesto and wants to give him a second chance of reliving ten years of his life to perhaps try and make up for “missed opportunities”, as Ernesto puts it. He could spend the period from any time in his past, and even while looking younger Ernesto will retain the wisdom and knowledge of a sixty three year old. The ten years by the way, will only be five minutes for the rest of the people around him – the time he would need to leave his wife waiting at the cafe to go and buy a pack of cigarettes from a nearby shop (hence the quirky title). And for agreeing to relive his youth, Ernesto will also be compensated handsomely at the end of it. Sounds like a nice deal isn’t it – only, trying to influence events by going back in time is one thing, but to change one’s own character is altogether another…
This is a nifty little film executed without too much fuss, or by distracting attention away through unnecessary detail. Whether we agree with Laiseca’s views or not, his is an interesting insight into human nature, and the directors ensure it is conveyed loud and clear. While the film is intelligent and philosophical, it is also entertaining and hilariously funny in places, and therefore, Recommended Viewing..!