Kids rule in A Week Alone’s surreal suburban vision

week

There are few visible adults in Celina Murga’s A Week Alone, playing tomorrow night at the Film Society as part of Young Friends of Film. The film is a meditative, perplexing look at the life of young kids left alone for a week in a gated community outside Buenos Aires. With the adults on vacation, the kids are left to roam free.

Sounds like a fantasy doesn’t it? What Murga churns out is a soda-guzzling, chip-eating, TV-watching study in the lives of tweens and teens in the new millennium. Gone are the simple days of make believe and games in your backyard. The new reality is much more sobering. A girl asks the one parental figure, the housekeeper Esther, how old she is. When Esther answers she is 22, the girl tells her she looks older. “I had a baby when I was 18,” Esther responds.

Secure from this real world, the kids of the gated community pillage with no consequences, their only threat being the cops that roam the streets like cyborgs. Framed like Peanuts parents (we never see their faces), these authority figures are easily evaded by sneaking into brush. But an odd light shines down on this gated community, an almost Twilight Zone light. Young bodies run half naked through a lush manicured tree lined path. They romp through beautiful darkened houses, decadent swimming clubs. This is the greatest vacation anyone could ask for. The monotony of suburban living, which I know very well a child of the suburbs myself, is only broken by a fit at the end complete with ripped clothes and kissing cousins. Murga is great at capturing these idle moments, and her casting and use of color are so engaging that we get lost in the moments and do not become bored by the repetitiveness.

-Michael Masarof

Buy tickets to A Week Alone: Wed March 4: 7:30

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