By Mark Saldana
Rating: 3.5 (Out of 4 Stars)
Exactly twenty four hours after watching The Last Time I Saw Macao, I watched another ambitious film which has a similar approach to storytelling. Only this time, the experimental technique pays off. Director Mark Street tells the story of Uruguayan talk radio host Mario Ligetti (Rufo Martinez) whose show encourages people to share and discuss their problems and worries on the air. Ligetti often offers no-nonsense advice, and sometimes cold admonishment whenever he deems necessary. Off the air, Ligetti has marital problems of his own due to a mid-life crisis. Mario also experiences a crisis regarding his work on the radio, feeling dissatisfied with the path he has taken.
Unlike The Last Time I Saw Macao, Street’s experimental approach works tremendously here. In his film, the city of Montevideo, Uruguay provides not only a setting, but also serves as another character. At the Q&A following the screening, Street admitted that the narrative developed and evolved greatly during the shooting of the film. I must applaud how well he wrote and developed the characters in the film. In addition to the Ligetti and the city of Uruguay, the callers to the radio show make for compelling characters as well. The audience gets to see them in their everyday lives and routines as their phone calls to the radio show are heard. The movie has some redundancies, but not so many that the style of the movie grows tiresome. Considering the artistically experimental approach taken with the movie, the entire piece plays out quite beautifully.