One of the jewels of the sixth Latin American Film Festival (LAFF) is El último verano de la boyita by the Argentine film director Julia Solomonoff. It is a tender dual portrait of city girl Jorgelina, who spends a summer in the country, and Mario, a boy her age, with whom she spends a lot of time. Julia discovers that Mario is wrestling with a big secret.
The story contains many symbolic elements, such as the tree that falls on Jorgelina's camper (la boyita) at the end of the film, marking the end of her childhood. Julia Solomonoff: "That is indeed completely symbolic, but it actually happened. I had a camper like this in the garden and at one point a tree actually fell on it." Other elements in the film are autobiographical, as well. Solomonoff: "Jorgelina is Jewish and Mario is German. I have both German and Jewish roots and was raised Catholic during part of my youth. Sometimes this is quite confusing, in particular because I am always placed in a particular pigeonhole because my last name is Jewish."
The film contains veiled criticism of Argentine machismo. Mario's father beats him when he discovers his son's secret. Solomonoff: "I understand his reaction. I understand that people would prefer a son to a daughter, so that he can work the land. Actually, I find it too simplistic to attack machismo. Argentine men suffer more from machismo than the women do."
"They no longer know what their place in society is. Argentine women are capturing an ever stronger position in the labour market, at the same time that men's traditional jobs in the factory and in agriculture have disappeared. Men have become second-class citizens in a way, which can lead to frustration and aggression. It is an interesting theme that I would love to delve into further in another film script."
LAFF takes place 6 - 14 May, 2010 in Utrecht.