Las Acacias (12A)

Starring: Germá* de Silva

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The Independent Culture

Film of the week is a debut feature from Argentina that involves just two strangers, an HGV and long stretches of anonymous motorway.

A middle-aged lorry driver (Germá* de Silva) has arranged to take a young woman (Hebe Duarte) and her five-month-old child from Paraguay to Buenos Aires. Impassive and unchivalrous to begin – she has to carry bags and baby without assistance – he doesn't even ask her name until 40 minutes in. Most of the journey proceeds against the rumble of the lorry's engine, but in the sidelong looks and occasional remarks they exchange the director Pablo Giorgelli shades in an unspoken backstory of loss and grief. When she asks him if he has a family, he replies, "No," then some minutes later adds, "I have a son." The two leads perform a remarkable duet that's made up almost entirely of silences, beautifully and tenderly observed by Giorgelli. Germá* de Silva suggests in the driver a soul whose hard knocks have made him gruff and withdrawn, while Hebe Duarte conveys a natural good-heartedness that this lonely man warms to. Even the baby gives a good performance. It's a little masterpiece of understated resonance and humility.