The Lion (2008)

TOMATOMETER

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AUDIENCE SCORE

Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

The Lion Photos

Movie Info

Santiago Otheguy's drama La León tells the tale of an Argentinean ferry captain who feuds with a local homosexual harvester because the harvester keeps seducing local men.
Rating:
NR
Genre:
Art House & International , Drama
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
 wide
On DVD:
Runtime:
Studio:
Water Bearer Films

Cast

Jorge Román
as Álvaro
José Muñoz
as Iribarren
Daniel Sosa
as Gadea Padre
Marcos Woinsky
as The German
Alberto Rivas
as Brother Missionary 3
Alfredo Rivas
as Brother Missionary 2
Esteban Gonzalez
as Brother Missionary 1
Juan Carlos Rivas
as Missionary 2
Lorena Rivas
as Missionary
Mirta Duran Rivas
as Female Missionary
Mirta Rivas
as Sister Missionary
Mariano González
as Young of the Yacht
Diego Quiroz
as Marinaro Julio
Aida Merel
as Librarian
Show More Cast

Critic Reviews for The Lion

All Critics (6) | Top Critics (4)

Otheguy might still be working out the convincing details of human nature, but one film in, he already has the hang of panoramic loneliness.

Full Review… | January 9, 2009
Boston Globe
Top Critic

The evocative milieu and stunning cinematography both underscore Otheguy's atmosphere of isolation, but his lack of momentum, character development, and deepening of themes make us feel mighty alone, too. Maybe that's the point.

Full Review… | October 9, 2008
Village Voice
Top Critic

Determinedly shot in grainy black-and-white, with a bass clarinet portraying the unabashedly-queer bookbinder's life, director/writer Santiago Otheguy has crafted a loving portrait that few will have the patience to finish, much less understand.

Full Review… | November 6, 2010

Paced with a steady ebb and flow of tidal-like transitions, Santiago Otheguy's impressive debut feature juxtaposes images of natural order with human acts of destruction.

Full Review… | October 13, 2008
Slant Magazine

Quote not available.

Full Review… | November 15, 2011
Time Out
Top Critic

Quote not available.

Full Review… | November 15, 2011
Time Out
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for The Lion

La León (2007) I selected this because I was choosing some Argentinean films-this won the prize at the Berlin Film Festival. Plot: Life on the Paraná Delta in northern Argentina is slow and quiet. In the film a small group of people left there ekes out a living from harvesting the reeds along the riverbanks, separated from each other by the vast expanse of the river. Captained by Turu (Valenzuela) "El Leon" is the locals' main source of transport, making its owner a vital part of the spread-out community. Pumped-up by a sense of his importance Turu sees himself as guardian of the locals and their way of life. Like Alvaro (Roman), most men in the area make their living by harvesting reeds. Verbal communication is not a prized asset here, and while Alvaro is an equal part of the community, his homosexuality inevitably sets him apart in his own mind and limits his trysting opportunities to occasional encounters with stray visitors. Complications arise in the rural isolated backward community. Alvaro appears to neither hide nor proclaim his orientation-lonely sure but better adjusted than the bullying Turu, who has plenty more emotional baggage needing to be processed. Like Jim Jarmushe’s film Dead Man this film is very minimalist as cinema presentation. Otheguy's atmosphere of isolation affected me deeply but I feel most American movie fans will not understand this movie. There is not much dialogue. There is little conversation. There is the river and isolation and the jungle. The landscape is itself the main character. It is filmed in black and white. However, it’s not a pure black and white—rather, the film has a brown, almost sepia tone, almost as if it was filmed in color and then shown in black and white. It has the appearance of a world that has had the color drained out of it, which lends a dreamlike quality. It is a slow developing film; It is easy to see the climax coming. I still enjoyed it as it’s such an unusual film. Four stars. Most will not like this.

dfw foreignbuff
dfw foreignbuff

La León (2007) I selected this because I was choosing some Argentinean films-this won the prize at the Berlin Film Festival. Plot: Life on the Paraná Delta in northern Argentina is slow and quiet. In the film a small group of people left there ekes out a living from harvesting the reeds along the riverbanks, separated from each other by the vast expanse of the river. Captained by Turu (Valenzuela) "El Leon" is the locals' main source of transport, making its owner a vital part of the spread-out community. Pumped-up by a sense of his importance Turu sees himself as guardian of the locals and their way of life. Like Alvaro (Roman), most men in the area make their living by harvesting reeds. Verbal communication is not a prized asset here, and while Alvaro is an equal part of the community, his homosexuality inevitably sets him apart in his own mind and limits his trysting opportunities to occasional encounters with stray visitors. Complications arise in the rural isolated backward community. Alvaro appears to neither hide nor proclaim his orientation-lonely sure but better adjusted than the bullying Turu, who has plenty more emotional baggage needing to be processed. Like Jim Jarmushe’s film Dead Man this film is very minimalist as cinema presentation. Otheguy's atmosphere of isolation affected me deeply but I feel most American movie fans will not understand this movie. There is not much dialogue. There is little conversation. There is the river and isolation and the jungle. The landscape is itself the main character. It is filmed in black and white. However, it’s not a pure black and white—rather, the film has a brown, almost sepia tone, almost as if it was filmed in color and then shown in black and white. It has the appearance of a world that has had the color drained out of it, which lends a dreamlike quality. It is a slow developing film; It is easy to see the climax coming. I still enjoyed it as it’s such an unusual film. Four stars. Most will not like this.

ld pierce
ld pierce
½

Aside from the arresting visuals, which are some of the most beautiful I've seen all year, [i]La Leon[/i] is a rather drab and dull experience. It's set primarily in the Argentine jungles, where a day laborer named Alvaro lives a life of pure human simplicity. We see him eat, sleep, work, and occasionally we see him have sex. This last part is the main point of conflict as his homosexual appetites cause friction with the captain of the ferry boat "La Leon," which is used to transport cargo back and forth from the jungles to civility. Since there is almost zero character building, we don't learn or observe much about human nature beyond its most mundane activities. And while there is value to this kind of approach, certainly Ozu is the preeminent example of a director willing to pay extra special cinematic attention to even the most trivial of actions, it doesn't add up to much if one is not able to express the emotions of the character or of the scene. Director Santiago Otheguy is captivated by details and textures, such as the way the light plays across an empty dinner table or the swaying of reeds in the wind, but his excuse for a narrative is a thin one. This film could have probably worked better as a documentary....but it isn't one. More respectable than enjoyable, I believe it's best to appreciate movies like [i]La Leon[/i] as photo journals rather than as real movies. [center][img]http://www.dvdrama.com/imagescrit2/l/a/_/la_leon_2.jpg[/img] [/center]

Matthew Farler
Matthew Farler

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