Written by: Carroll Jenkins on June 6th, 2009
Theatrical Release Date: Argentina, 2001
Director: Rodrigo Grande
Writer: Rodrigo Grande
Cast: Federico Luppi, Ulises Dumont, María José Demare, Francisco Puente, Gustavo Luppi, Enrique Dumont, Emilio Bardi, Claudio Rissi, Saul Jarlip
DVD released: July 28th, 2009
Approximate running time: 88 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Stereo Spanish
DVD Release: Synapse Films
Region Coding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $19.95
Rosarigasinos seems to have been originally conceived as a musical comedy. There are bits of business between leads Luppi and Dumont as Tito and Castor that would be perfectly at home in an Abbott and Costello routine. More vaudevillian aspects: Tito is a crooner and Castor plays the accordion. But then comes the second draft.
The Sopranos is an acclaimed smash in the States, so let’s focus on the complicated, conflicted, and ultimately self-centered protagonist while leaving the Gleason / Carney central relationship intact. Now Tito, despite his delusions, is not a righteous and noble character. He seems obsessed with maintaining his personal code of honor, but really is only obsessed with himself. He is a violent and self serving animal that would eat his young. The comedic elements are played deadly serious. The songs are introspective and the lyrics focus on the past, regrets, longings, and lust for revenge. There are lots of flashbacks of the ‘good old days’ as in the pivotal first season episode of the Sopranos.
Now let’s write the third draft and make this an art film. How best than to borrow elements from Citizen Kane? Therefore, we introduce interviews of ancillary characters that have little relevance to the story but relate their convergence with unfolding events in the past tense. That adds the essential element of fatalism to make a film noir.
Oh yeah, time to add the plot. Who stole the ill-gotten gains? Why did Luppi’s girlfriend that he pimped out fall in love with a john and force Luppi and his loyal and noble sidekick to kill him and therefore serve a 15 year sentence? Ah, but Fatso was about to be gang raped in prison and our beloved twosome saved him by a noble act of sexual dismemberment upon the five assailants and were sentenced to 15 more years. Our heroes are hapless victims of circumstance.
This is an nice anamorphic widescreen presentation with English subtitles. There are occasional specs visible, but otherwise the print is fine. There are some neo-noir elements, so some scenes are purposely dark and obscure. There are no extras.
Rosarigasinos is a comedy / thriller / mob / drama with excellent performances from the entire cast. But the primary motivation is to examine: motivations. Loyalty, love, ambition, honor, trust – do they mean anything? Probably not, so let’s steal some money and go party!