ROCK, PAPER AND SCISSORS *** Argentina 2019 Dir: Martín Blousson and Macarena García Lenzi. 83 mins
The initial scene and strangeness of the plot is set when brother and sister Jesus (Pablo Segal) and Maria José (Agustina Cerviño) play rock, paper, scissors to see who will answer the doorbell at their property, as they watch ‘The Wizard of Oz‘ on the TV.
Jesus – having lost – answers the door to find his half sister Magdalena (Valeria Giorcelli), who as come all the way from Spain to Argentina, to help, following the death of their father.
Magdalena – the next day – offers to sort out her fathers affairs but both Jesus and Maria seem a little ‘off’ with her offer of help and are not interested in selling up and moving out.
All is not normal in this beige Argentinian home.
Magdalena stays the night in her fathers old room and the following day, when leaving to go to her hotel, Magdalena takes a bad fall down the marble staircase of the property and is injured extremely badly – waking up once more in her fathers room. She has suffered a spinal injury, infection, broken leg and she is wearing a neck brace – she blames Maria for pushing her down the stairs, due to her not wanting to sell the property and split the money between the three of them.
Throughout the film there are constant references to the Judy Garland classic ‘The Wizard of Oz‘ from the opening scene and subsequent viewings of the classic throughout the film to the ruby slippers salt and pepper set to the film that Jesus and Maria are making in the building, with her guinea pig starring as Toto.
But one thing you have to ask is “What if the Ruby slippers don’t fit Magdalena…?”
As the story progresses the strangeness and quirky traits between the family members increases – Magdalena wishing desperately to leave, but unable to go because of her injuries and ending up in what appears to be a ‘Misery’ situation.
As Magdalena’s health begins to improve and she starts to feel a little better, she plays brother against sister in what builds into an extremely claustrophobic crescendo.
With only the three characters – four if you count the guinea pig – this feels as if you are watching a very intense play, with it being well suited for a theatrical adaption, given that the location of the film is only set inside the property throughout.
A very downbeat film, with a few stand out shocking moments in its short running time, which will have you thinking about them long after the final credits have rolled.
Review by Ian Carroll