Leonera (Lion's Den) (2008)
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Critic Reviews for Leonera (Lion's Den)
The results are mixed -- a handful of moments of genuine, undeniable power, interspersed with a fair number of listless scenes.
The dimly lit, exquisitely composed cinematography, by Guillermo Nieto, adds to the draw of this highly recommended movie.
Although it is not a comedy, Lion's Den is suffused with sense of life lived in the present. Even the grimmest moments are not exploited to instill fear and loathing.
Part meticulous character study, part hyperrealist drama...
A portrait of a subculture whose members take pride in walking their kids to the penitentiary's pre-K class.
Audience Reviews for Leonera (Lion's Den)
I would never say that the film was bad. But until Julia gives birth to her son, the movie is kind of aimless. When it becomes a story about a mother doing everything she can to raise her son as normally as she can under strange circumstances, then the movie improves a whole lot. Everything that happened before that was still solid and Martina Gusman was more good in her role, it's just that the story doesn't really kick in until she gives birth. The movie is well made and acted. I also liked the fact that there's a bit of ambiguity and the movie never tells you whether Julia did or did not murder the person she was accused of murdering. I thought that added a little intrigue to the story that wouldn't have been there if they had told you explicitly whether she did it or not. It's just a tiny little touch that actually adds a lot to the film as far as being intriguing and adding a little mystery to the proceedings. There was potential for this film to be melodramatic and overacted but I think, and this is typical of a lot of Argentinian films I've seen, the films are believably acted and they have a grit to their visual style that is more realistic. That's about it, sometimes the film can be a mixed bag but once the story gets to the heart of the matter, it ends up becoming a strong film with an excellent performance from Martina Gusman.
Painfully realistic portrayal of one mother's struggle to raise her child in a penitentiary for women. Director Pablo Trapero doesn't pull any punches and Martina Gusman's performance is utterly fantastic.
Some beautiful movie were coming lately from Argentina and Lion's Den was also one of them. The movie, the characters. the performances and the location, all were amazing. It was not only a movie about a mother's struggle to raise her child in a prison, but it was more then only that. The movie was about mothers love and her struggle to prove her innocence to raise her child outside the prison. Presenting the movie scenes in a prison with background prison noises created an atmosphere which made this movie more real. What was remarkable in this movie the prison guards which usually were presented as brutal and heartless human beings, were in this movie touching and caring people. A real jewel from Argentina. Worth a watch.
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