Darío Grandinetti, Andrea Frigerio, Alfredo Castro, Diego Cremonesi
Director Benjamín Naishtat’s stylish, darkly funny drama Rojo, his third and most accessible film to date following the semi-experimental features History of Fear and The Movements, is set on the eve of the 1976 Argentinian coup that ushered in a military dictatorship and immerses us in the country’s troubled collective subconscious during its Dirty War.
Claudio (Darío Grandinetti) is a middle-aged, happily married lawyer with a comfortable life in a provincial town. But in a restaurant one night he is attacked by a mysterious stranger (Diego Cremonesi), their altercation continuing on the street outside. A few months later, a friend comes to see Claudio about an abandoned house that he is interested in buying. These two separate scenes form the foundations of Naishtat’s spellbinding, slow-burn suspense drama in which, as a Chilean private detective arrives on the scene, we are drawn further into a reality where nothing is as it seems.
Depicting encounters in homes, offices, schools and streets, Rojo becomes a oblique but hypnotic study of a society in moral decline, Naishtat mapping the murky psychic terrain of a time in which thousands of Argentinians were disappeared without trace and in which endemic violence, fear and corruption infiltrated every part of its society, forcing citizens to commit crimes simply to protect themselves. Following a Toronto premiere and screenings at festivals worldwide, Rojo looks set to consolidate Naishtat’s reputation as an exciting new voice in world cinema.