This entry was posted on April 18th, 2012

By Mónica Delgado

Bonsái by Cristian Jiménez is a Chilean film programmed in the International BAFICI Competition, by a filmmaker from Valdivia, which is one of the most cinephilic provinces of the country. Bonsái (Chile, France, Argentina, Portugal, 2011) is a nostalgic film about adolescence seen through the eyes of adults. It’s filled with literary quotes because its protagonist is a somewhat clumsy writer who is striving (without much fortune) to finish a novel.

Julio, a young novelist, tries to get a job transcribing manuscripts for Gazmuri, a famous writer. He soon begins to help him but is quickly replaced by a cheap secretary. Ashamed, Julio get fixated with the idea of telling his friends Gazmuri actually hired him for good, a lie which serves as a motivation to help him start a novel about his memories of his first girlfriend, Emilia, memories from a time where they were both literature students in Valdivia.

Bonsái kicks off to a good start, being fresh and nostalgic (punk music, the filiation to Proust’s In search of lost time, a title that completely reveals the filmmaker intentions), through warm colors and a rhythm which takes an interest in comedy. However, it slowly turns in a decolorized drama, trying to link the past with fantasy. It’s a leap from a Proustfascination (a youthful world described in a subtle key for the filmmaker) to the admiration for the art of Bonsái (the dull and adult surrounding of the lead character), two different universes linked in the same place, that don’t seem to work together.

Director: Cristián Jiménez
Screenwriters: Cristián Jiménez, Alejandro Zambra
Cinematography: Inti Briones
Cast: Diego Noguera, Nathalia Galgan, Gabriela Arancibia, Trinidad González, Hugo Medina, Andrés Waas
102 min
Chile, Argentina, France, Portugal