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Shaibu Husseini
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A drawing and two dark farmhouses
La Rabia, by Albertina Carri (Argentina)
Four years after the release of her dramatic feature GEMINI, and a year after the release of URGENTE, award-winning Argentine filmmaker Albertina Carri, 35, returns with LA RABIA, a touching story that is emotionally fraught and intellectually provocative.

Set on a farm in Argentina, LA RABIA tells the story of Poldo (Victor Hugo Carrizo), a farmer who would not want his wife, Alejandra (Analia Couceyro), anywhere near Pichon (Javier Lorenzo), a fellow farmer, who is a brutal sex maniac. Pichon has abused Poldo and Alejandra's mute daughter, Nati, (Nazarena Duarte), and Poldo thinks that the best way to keep Pichon away from Nati is to stop Alejandra from socializing with him. Poldo does not even want Nati, who expresses herself through drawing, to spend time with the harmless Ladeado (Gonzalo Perez), Pichon's teenage son. Behind Poldo's back, Pichon is in a passionate and raunchy relationship with Alejandra. They steal out to engage in rough sex, often within full sight of Nati and Ladeado. Unable to express herself, Nati puts her thoughts on paper, and her drawings inspire the grimy violence that eventually plays out between Poldo and Nati.

Although this is all wrapped around the twin issue of infidelity and violence, two issues that have been over flogged and have dominated cinema themes, this 83-minute feature film is a bittersweet drama told with a splendid cast and with stark images that resonate even after the last frame. The movie not only shows sex and violence, but also gets behind issues of infidelity to demonstrate the feebleness of human nature.

The camerawork and production design are appealing, but the movie may be slammed because of the brutal onscreen sex. Though the movie came across as a cross between fiction and realism, the ferocious and intense open sex display may narrow the movie's audience. The sex scenes turned almost pornographic and dwarfed the movie's essence. Also, was it necessary to indicate at the start that the animals used in the movie lived and died as they would naturally do, when it was obvious that a few of the animals were gruesomely killed? Children and conservationists may find the movie's numerous slaughter scenes upsetting.

Though it is roundly engaging, theatrical prospects for this intensely emotional and realistic fable may be minimal.

By Shaibu Husseini

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Rabia (La) 2008
Albertina Carri

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Carri Albertina

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Guardian (The)
Nigeria | LAGOS

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