The Fish Child

The Fish Child (El Niño Pez). DVD. Dir. Lucía Puenzo. With Carlos Bardem, Ines Efron, Mariela Vitale. Wolfe Video, 2011. In Spanish with English subtitles. 96 min. $19.95.

Part crime drama, part love story, The Fish Child is a film that twists and turns with a narrative that jumps back and forth. Adapted from the book of the same name, this film by Lucía Puenzo focuses on the love of two Latina girls. Lala, the daughter of an Argentinian judge has fallen in love with one of the housekeepers, Ailin, who is from Paraguay. Though Ailin is below Lala in caste, she’s more worldly, with plenty of facets to her past. They plan to run away together, back to Ailin’s hometown, with the money they have made from stealing.

Lala’s father is murdered, however, and the film becomes fractured as Lala runs away to Paraguay to Lake Ypoa, and waits for Ailin, who never arrives. By the film’s end, the plot has become muddled and dark. When it’s over, even the average viewer will feel drained from all of the emotional wringing.

Though The Fish Child is a bittersweet love story that may leave some viewers with a feeling of hopelessness, it is an intriguing film, masterfully directed by the director of XXY. Additionally, Ines Efron’s (Lala) acting is brilliant; her pain and emotional vulnerability really jump out of the movie and are remembered long after the disc is ejected. And though the words gay and lesbian are never used in the film, the content solely focuses on the two young adults’ affection for one another.

This film would make a great addition to an academic or public library that desires more foreign GLBT films that don’t revolve around sex, but rather love.

One quibble: The film is grainy at times, especially when the narrative jumps back and forth from past to present in a somewhat hard to follow pace.


Reviewed by, Johnnie Gray
Interlibrary Loan Librarian
Christopher Newport University


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