Rojo, dir. Benjamin Naishtat, Argentina / Brazil / France / Netherlands / Germany 2018, 109 mins., Spanish with English subtitles, 15
Claudio is a middle-aged lawyer with a prosperous life in a placid provincial town in mid-70’s Argentina, just before the military coup. One night he enters a restaurant where he is verbally attacked by a mysterious stranger, their argument continues on the street outside, and then escalates even more with drastic consequences. A few months later a friend comes to see Claudio about an abandoned house that he is interested in buying.
The two incidents come back to haunt Claudio later with the arrival of a Chilean private detective who is intent on locating the missing stranger, who, it turns out, is a relative of one of Claudio’s friends. Claudio’s life is possibly about to unravel.
The 1970s and early '80s in Argentina were the time of the military dictatorship, the "Dirty War," and the disappeared. With Rojo, Benjamín Naishtat approaches the beginnings of this turbulent era in his country's history obliquely and mysteriously. He deliberately builds a quiet mood of foreboding and impending doom through a carefully constructed, almost hypnotic narrative.