Un cuento chino (Chinese Take-Away)
Winter 2013 Features series
Sunday, February 10, 2013 at 4:00pm
Sunday, February 10, 2013 at 7:00pm
Directed by Sebastián Borensztein
Screenplay by Sebastián Borensztein
Starring Ignacio Huan, Muriel Santa Ana, and Ricardo Darín
Rated NR ·
Spain / Argentina
Mandarin and Spanish
Un cuento chino (Chinese Take-Away)
Roberto (Ricardo Darín, The Secret in Their Eyes) is the owner of a small hardware store in Buenos Aires. He is stubborn, set in his ways, and follows a rather strict daily routine, which includes finding weird news stories to add to his collection. He is not exactly a people-person, and spends much of his days in a gloomy silence, ignoring those around him, including the lovely Mari (Muriel Santa Ana), who strangely sees something in him.
One afternoon Roberto is out by the airport watching the planes land (his idea of a fun day out) when Jun (Huang Sheng Huang) is ejected from a taxi onto the side of the road beside him. Jun is very distressed and speaks no Spanish – he has an address written on his arm but no way of telling anyone why he is in Argentina.
While Roberto initially wants to walk away from Jun, his conscience gets the better of him and he decides to take him in and help him find what he has come to Argentina for. Through a series of sometimes frustrating acts and often fruitless searches, Roberto discovers Jun is an orphan who is searching for his uncle. The address on his arm belongs to the last-known address of the uncle, but he has since moved on. With the Chinese Embassy providing little help, and the two men unable to communicate well, a series of amusing, heart-lifting and sometimes sad events unfolds. Roberto could never have imagined taking in a lost Chinese man, but it is this out-of-character kindness, which teaches Roberto to start really living his life, and seeing those around him.
Chinese Take Away is a comedy written and directed by Sebastián Borensztein (The Secret in Their Eyes), and winner of Best Film and Audience awards (Rome International Film Festival), Best Picture (Argentinian Academy Awards) and Best Latin American Film ( Goya Award).
“The absurdity of life is beautifully captured in this wondrously simple, yet complex film from Argentina in which fate and the incongruous collide. Nothing is what it seems, yet everything is exactly what it seems. The conundrum begins with the film’s title and continues right through to the characters and the narrative until things fall into place and the jigsaw created forms a coherent picture. Without meaning to sound mysterious, this film by writer and director Sebastián Borensztein is a film whose special delights are best discovered. It’s a buddy movie, a mystery, a character study and a love story all rolled into one and the result is amusing, surprising and genuinely moving. This is a gem of a film that once seen, will never be forgotten.” (Louise Keller, Urban Cinefile)
“I expected this film to be cheesy, and instead I was utterly charmed by its humour and heart. Roberto is such a stubborn and isolated man, and the introduction of Jun into his life is a great shock to his ordered routine. While he is initially reluctant to give an inch, over time we see the cold façade start to slowly melt away, and the kind soul underneath emerges. Watching Jun get his head around Roberto’s way of life is very amusing, and it’s made even more interesting by the fact that there are no subtitles provided when Jun speaks – we only understand as much as Roberto does, which isn’t a lot at all. Overall this is an amusing and charming film about miscommunication, unexpected adventures, and about kindness. It’s amazing what can happen when you open your mind and your heart up to new people and to different ways of looking at the world.” (Sam McCosh, An Online Universe)