LOCARNO, Switzerland – Mexican director Enrique Rivero’s first feature film “Parque Via” is the study of a simple man who lives alone and really likes it that way. Slow and repetitious, it uses the structure of a short story that lulls the reader with ordinariness before a stinging climax.
Nothing much happens until that final bang but Nolberto Coria, as the caretaker of a grand house that has been otherwise empty for many years, holds the attention with his grave dignity and dry humor. Audiences will take to the quiet man and his determined solitude with festivals and art houses likely to profit handily.
Beto (Coria) is a man of few words who goes about his daily routine of taking care of the house with an attitude as clean and brisk as his white shirts. He’s the kind of person who knows to take in the laundry just before it rains and uses a little starch when he irons.
Whether raking leaves, cleaning windows, or washing tubs and toilets, Beto is diligent and thorough. In the evenings, he bathes, has a drink of whisky, and dines on tacos and tamales. He watches the news channel with its relentless parade of stories about terrible goings-on in the outside world, and goes silently to bed.
Beto’s only human contacts, aside from the occasional tamale seller, are the genteel woman (Tesalia Huerta) who owns the house and a cheerful hooker (Nancy Orozco) who drops by on a regular basis.
Nothing changes for the man until the owner tells him that the house is being sold. She is concerned about what he will do and, being affectionate and generous, she offers to help him financially. Her greatest act of kindness, however, is one she could not foresee.
The film’s slow pace might deter some viewers but when the climax arrives, Coria’s stately discipline and Rivero’s unhurried direction pay off significantly.
Venue: Locarno International Film Festival, In Competition; Cast: Nolberto Coria, Nancy Orozco, Tesalia Huerta; Director, screenwriter, producer, editor: Enrique Rivero; Producer: Paolo Herrera; Director of photography: Arnau Valls Colomer; Production designer, costume designer: Nohemi Gonzalez; Music: Alejandro de Icaza; Editor: Javier Ruiz Caldera; Production: Una Communion; Not rated; running time, 86 minutes.
This review appeared in The Hollywood Reporter.