You’ve probably never stopped to think what a Latino Wes Anderson might look like, but we found the answer anyway. Hailing from Argentina, directing duo Diego Lublinsky and Álvaro Urtizberea have followed up Lublinsky’s 2007 feature debut Tres Minutos with a film that promises to have more than enough offbeat, deadpan comedy to keep Anderson devotees satisfied — even overjoyed — for its 90-minute runtime.
Penned by Alicia Giménez Guspi, the screenplay for Hortensia is practically overflowing with quirkiness as it follows the the 22-year-old title character’s quest for love in the aftermath of her father’s sudden death. As evidenced from the abundance of stuffed animal carcasses, Hortensia’s deceased pop was a taxidermist who died from an electric shock incurred while opening the refrigerator. To make matters worse, Hortensia has the bad luck of discovering her boyfriend cheating on her that same evening. In her desolation, our heroine uncovers an old promise she once made to herself and a bizarre brand of romantic comedy ensues.
The film’s quaint storyline is bolstered by a highly stylized mise-en-scene, and slightly over-the-top characters who revel in awkward stutters and silences in ways reminiscent of Napoleon Dynamite. Flat compositions, bold colors, and dryly funny inserts clearly shout out to Wes Anderson, while the editing gives the whole piece an understated and slightly uncomfortable timing. In the end, Hortensia might not have you laughing out loud, but it will probably leave you with an awkward smile on your face.
Hortensia premiered at Argentina’s Mar del Plata Film Festival before embarking on a nationwide theatrical release.