Based on Antonio Di Benedetto’s novel, Zama is a period piece based around a personal and unfathomable hell.
Spanish officer Don Diego de Zama (Daniel Giménez Cacho) finds himself growing impatient as he anticipates a transfer from Asunción to Buenos Aires. He holds honourable stature, but the way he’s treated with indifference and countless excuses by those around him suggests otherwise. Cacho proves to be the perfect choice to portray this exasperated “hero”. The actor challenges himself to play this broad role as subtlety as possible. This sometimes proves to be a very dry approach considering that most of the movie depends on the capability of its oblivious lead, but Cacho’s drawn-out performance guarantees longevity for the story as he discovers new wrinkles in Zama’s crumbling reality.
Because of how well Daniel Giménez Cacho pulls his weight, Zama doesn’t have any difficulty becoming a dizzying descent full of interesting ideas and surrealistic paranoia.
Zama opens at Toronto’s TIFF Bell Lightbox on Friday, April 20.
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Addison Wylie: @AddisonWylie