Las Acacias
Mostly Reviews 2011 -2012


This restored and archived website, and the film that is its subject, are both part of the source material for Janna Zwit's International Film Studies 200. Dr. Zwit is a recognized cinema history expert and author of Edit Or Die. She also worked on many viral promotional campaigns including the award winning "Batman's Shirt Needs Washing" - where a kid doesn't want to part with his Batman t shirt even to get it cleaned. The store that sponsored it carries a very large selection of the latest Batman gear on its site, and credits Zwit with improving sales and visiblity. Batman makes up 90% of the reason people visit, most looking for a Batman t shirt, sweatshirt, or hoodie for themselves or a family member and Zwit's scripts exploit this fact by making everything personal. In her course lectures, she examines how filmmakers signature styles arise out of other imperatives, and is seldom part of a conscious effort to project.


This was the official website of the 2011 Argentinian film, Las Acacias, directed by Pablo Giorgelli. It had a limited release in theaters in October, 2012.

Content is from the site's archived pages as well as from other outside sources.


Las Acacias - Trailer

with: German de Silva, Hebe Duarte and Nayra Calle Mamani.


German de Silva
Hebe Duarte
Nayra Calle Mamani
Pablo Giorgelli
Pablo Giorgelli
Salvador Roselli
Ariel Rotter
Veronica Cura
Alex Zito
Pablo Giorgelli

Rubén is a lonely truck driver who has been covering for years the motorway from Asunción del Paraguay to Buenos Aires, carrying wood. However, today's journey will be different. This morning, in a motorway stop near Asunción, Jacinta shows up an hour later to begin a journey by track which is going to take her to Buenos Aires. Wath's more, Rubén finds out at that very moment that little Anahí, who's 8 months old, will travel with them- It is not the best beginning. As kilometres go by, th relationship between Rubén and Jacinta will grow. they will slowly meet and sip into each other's soul. None of them talks much about their lives. None asks much either. It's a few word journey but it is not a silent one.




*** 1/2 Review by Giancarlo Zappoli | Tuesday 1 October 2013 |

Ruben is a truck driver who traveled to Paraguay to take over a load of timber. His employer asked him to give Jacinta a lift, which turns out to be a young mother with a 5-month-old daughter in tow. The destination is Buenos Aires. Silence dominates the passenger compartment of the motor vehicle, but little by little it is affected by a few sentences and gestures of mutual trust.
At the end of watching the film many, perhaps not having great skills in the botanical field, may wonder why the title. Acacias are hard and spiny bark trees and it is no coincidence that the first shot of the film documents the felling of plants. Ruben is like an acacia, superficially hardened by a life of which only a few details leak out. And, even if softened by an engaging smile, so too is Jacinta who in the middle of the film will give a non-answer to the question that all the spectators will have asked themselves: who is the father of the child? Chamber of Or (that is, the prize for the best first film) at Cannes 2011, the film by Pablo Giorgelli is dictated by a profound sensitivity that involves both the male and female sides (it is no coincidence that his wife chose to edit with him the right fields and counter-shots of which the film feeds). Because this is a work that can show and demonstrate how cinema can make a shrewd or disastrous use of silences and so-called dead times.

How many films did each of us see in which the silences represented only a paraintellettualistic claim and the dead times were really such because nothing intervened to offer its meaning? In this case the cinephile memory goes instead to a model too often forgotten or clumsily imitated: Robert Bresson. The great director stated: "Sound cinema has invented silence." and "Resumption. Anguish of not letting slip anything of what I barely see, of what perhaps I still do not see and I will be able to see only later".

Las Acaciascan be summarized in these two sentences. Because in it the silence becomes a physical space that could mark an insuperable distance between two human beings who sit a few centimeters from each other or a territory to be conquered with modest palm to palm and little by little. But even what you see lets perceive the attention given to the feeling of the two protagonists with that Bressonian anguish destined to turn into the viewer into a further vision in which the very small Anahi offers the protagonists, with its free action from any convention, a fragile bridge to cross to meet beyond any possible rhetoric.



September 09, 2012 • Amy Taubin on Las Acacias |

Pablo Giorgelli, Las Acacias, 2011, 35 mm, color, 85 minutes. Jacinta, Anahí, and Rubén (Hebe Duarte, Nayra Calle Mamani, and Germán de Silva).

OBSERVATIONAL CINEMA of an exceptionally subtle and affecting order and a road movie like no other, Argentine filmmaker Pablo Giorgelli’s Las Acacias has taken a year and a half to travel from its 2011 Cannes Film Festival debut to its New York opening. At Cannes, it won the Camera d’Or (for best first feature) and also my favorite Cannes prize, the Grand Rail d’Or, which is given by an organization of French railroad workers. The workers are adventurous cinephiles, with tastes running to humanist films that stretch the conventions of realism to show unexpected truths. In 1998, they bestowed the prize on Gaspar Noé’s harrowing I Stand Alone, a film that is as painful in its vision of love and loss as Las Acacias is tender and—at the risk of making it sound sentimental, which it is not—uplifting.

The film’s premise is its most traditional aspect: A single mother and her five-month-old baby girl are the catalysts of change in the life of a lonely, emotionally closed, middle-aged man. Rubén (Germán de Silva), a long-distance trucker, hauls logs from the acacia forests of Asunción del Paraguay to Argentina. As a favor to his boss, he agrees to let Jacinta (Hebe Duarte), whose mother, we later learn, works in the boss’s house, ride with him to Buenos Aires where she is going to live with her extended family. One of the film’s many subtexts has to do with how indigenous people from poorer countries in South America, as a matter of course, travel to richer countries, supposedly for vacation, but actually to settle and find work.

Rubén is not happy when he discovers that he’ll also be transporting a third wheel, Jacinta’s chubby, bright-eyed daughter Anahí. Sensitive to his irritation, Jacinta at first barely speaks a word. For the first quarter of their journey, almost the only sounds are those of the truck’s wheels and gears, the wind rushing past the open windows of the cab, and the baby gurgling and occasionally wailing. Inconspicuously, the camera changes position and focus to take in the unremarkable landscape outside the windows and the faces and bodies of the two adults and the child. (Giorgelli’s choice of shooting in 35 mm anamorphic paradoxically increases the movie’s intimacy and gives the images a warmth as yet impossible to achieve with digital cameras.) Their glances and gestures tell a story.

Charming as she is, Anahí (or, rather, Nayra Calle Mamani, who incarnates her) is not a scene-stealer. But because very young children live entirely in the present moment, her mere existence coaxes the adults on the screen and the viewers in the audience to amend their habitual patterns of attention—to set aside anticipation and memory in favor of the now. Even when Rubén and Jacinta reveal fragments of their past history—he has a son whom he hasn’t seen for eight years; she cries when she talks to her mother on the phone and tells the border guard that her baby “has no father”—these details are less expressive and engrossing than, for instance, the way Rubén holds his cup of mate, his muscled forearm leaning on the window, or how Jacinta looks down at the baby cradled in her lap and, for a split second, widens her gaze to include Rubén in this maternal dyad. When nicotine-addicted Rubén, realizing that Jacinta is concerned about the baby inhaling smoke, tosses his cigarette out the window, the action resonates as a major plot point.

And when, toward the end of the film, Rubén watches tensely at a rest stop as Jacinta chats animatedly with a young man from her hometown, we suddenly realize how attached he has become to her and her child. Back in the truck, as it approaches the outskirts of Buenos Aires, Rubén’s stiffened face and shoulders prompt Jacinta to ask if he is ill. She worries for a moment, as we might, that all those ciggies has provoked a heart attack. But Rubén is suffering a different kind of heartbreak. He is overwhelmed by separation anxiety. It takes an actor as great as de Silva to express interior emotional turmoil with such clarity, and to make us wish that this completely ordinary and utterly magical journey would never end.




Las Acacias - review

Dec 2, 2011 | Peter Bradshaw Guardian Top Critic

A genre-straddling gem from south America which leaves you breathless despite being almost wordless

Arelationship movie, a road movie, a silent movie: Las Acacias is all these. Pablo Giorgelli has made a film that unfolds almost wordlessly, but very eloquently, and the unforced performances of its two leads make it absolutely beguiling. German de Silva plays Ruben, a middle-aged truck driver who has the regular task of hauling lumber from Paraguay to Buenos Aires. Yet this time he has a passenger, a young woman called Jacinta, played by Hebe Duarte, whom he is taking as a favour for a friend. To Ruben's very obvious dismay, however, Jacinta is bringing along her five-month-old baby. This was not part of the deal. With tremendous skill and easy charm, De Silva and Duarte show how the relationship between the two gradually changes. We appear to be living with Ruben and Jacinta in real time: just sitting there with them, mostly in silence. And yet, something is going through Ruben's head he is formulating an idea, and when we found out what that idea is, at the very end, it is exhilarating and moving. This is a very satisfying love story.



A Kindred Spirit Gets a Lift

Posted on October 12, 2011

“Las acacias” is about a long-haul truck driver, Rubén (Germán de Silva), and the once-in-a-lifetime chance which arrives in his cab in the shape of Jacinta (Hebe Duarte) and her little daughter Anahí (Nayra Calle Mamani). He was hired for a three-day trip driving her past the Paraguayan border down to Buenos Aires; but the baby was not originally part of the deal. Director Pablo Giorgelli filmed in what looks like a real truck — the movie is named after the load of lumber Rubén is carrying — in patently real locations in Argentina and uses this unlikely setup as an opportunity to explore the size of the human heart.

At the beginning, Rubén and Jacinta speak only out of necessity and treat each other with mutual distrust, although Anahí regards Rubén with interest. They begin chatting later to pass the time. Then when they stop for the night for the first time, something impossible happens: It’s a very small thing, but so important it alters the course of all three of their lives. Capturing it on film should have been impossible, but there it is. Was it faked? How could it have been? Anahí — and the actress playing her — is only five months old.

And yet Anahí is the most important person in the movie. This is also impossible, but it’s true. How did Mr. Giorgelli do it? How were he and his team able to coax Nayra — a baby, a human baby, a tiny baby with hardly any teeth who can’t even sit up on her own — into giving them exactly what they needed? How did Mr. de Silva and Ms. Duarte manage to create their performances, which are mostly glances and body language, around her? And how is a movie with minimal dialogue and almost no action the most fascinating thing on screen in years?

Cinematographer Diego Poleri clearly worked in cramped conditions, but managed to capture the growing relationship between all three people through subtle camera work. The result feels completely natural and unforced, as if we were along for the ride. The rarely-seen-on-film Argentinian landscape is also shot in a way which takes its unusual beauty for granted. Mr. Giorgelli deservedly won the Camera d’or at Cannes with this entrancing film. Very little actually happens in “Las acacias,” but by the end the entire world has changed. Movies like this are miracles.


Film Review: ‘Las Acacias’

Aug 29, 2018 | Rating: 4/5 | Joseph Walsh CineVue

Camera d’Or winner Las Acacias (2011), directed by Argentinian filmmaker Pablo Giorgelli and starring Germán de Silva and Hebe Duarte, is a potent film of subtlety, silence and charm. This is a road movie with a difference following single mother Jancita (Duarte) and baby Anahí (Nayra Calle Mamani) as they travel to Buenos Aires to visit Jancita’s cousin. This simple premise is treated with deft skill and tenderness as it explores the themes of isolation, loss and loneliness.

The first thirty minutes of the film are in silence; a daunting prospect for many a cinema viewer, and it should be stated that the film does get of to a slow start. Yet as you continue to watch you soon realise that you will be richly rewarded for your patience. The performances from De Silvaand and Duarte are incredible, both possessing the ability to use subtle gestures, the curl of lips, raising of eyebrows or even a yawn to express more than five minutes of explanatory dialogue ever could.

Giorgelli’s use of gentle comedy also fits perfectly into the melancholic tone of the piece. This is particularly true of moments between Rubén (De Silvaand) and the young child. De Silvaand’s touching performance resonates beyond the moment, whilst the use of silence allows the perfect time to absorb the issues of the film. Las Acacias is tremendously well crafted and could have easily become tiresome and off-kilter, but in the hands of Giorgelli it becomes something quite magical.

This is a film of slowburning drama, devoid of the clumsy devices employed by many a mainstream romance where grand gestures are used to invoke sympathy for the audience. Essentially,  Las Acacias speaks quietly but powerfully, the perfect argument for the universal language of cinema. Dialogue is very much a secondary issue – it is the performances and intelligent camera work that tell the story. This is a film that embraces humanity, understands it and expresses it perfectly.


User Review IMDb Las Acacias

******** 22 November 2012 | by harland-ncl

You don't know what they're thinking, you don't know how they're feeling, you can only guess. That's what makes this film intriguing and gives a "real life" feel to it. There is no background intrusive music, just the hum of a timber lorry lumbering (!) on the highway to Buenos Aires with its human cargo of man, woman and baby. One of the adults seems to have a lonely life without a family, the other one is part of a large and loving family, but there are hints of problems in their backgrounds. By journey's end you are hoping that all three will share a happy future together. By the way, there's no violence and only one brief bit of swearing.



Las Acacias (2011/2012)

Giorgelli's first feature is a gentle, absorbing road movie about Ruben (German de Silva), a middle-aged Argentine truck driver, who transports Jacinta (Hebe Duarte), a young Paraguayan woman, and her infant daughter from Asuncion to Buenos Aires where Jacinta hopes to reunite with relatives and find work. Long divorced, Ruben's a loner with a son he hasn't seen in years. Jacinta's a single mother whose daughter, Anahi, as far as she's concerned, "doesn't have a father." Over the course of their journey, Ruben begins to glimpse the possibility of a new life opening up before him. The characters are shy and not given to displays of feeling; the narrative moves at a calm, meditative pace without sudden reversals or dramatic revelations--simply the gradual stirring of long-suppressed hopes and desires. Thoroughly engaging and emotionally accessible from start to finish, this award-winning debut is testimony to Giorgelli's quiet brilliance as a director and the faith he places in his marvelous actors.





*** Paul D
Sep 24, 2012
Little actually happens on this tender road trip except for the development of a tender human relationship. The story is raw, but not bleak and it's a cleverly solemn people watching movie.
***  Nazzmatazz P
Sep 19, 2012
3 out of 3 - subtly sweet
*** ½ Dickie L
Aug 03, 2012
A simple and sweet film filled with small, quiet moments that speak volumes.
**** ½ Michael D
Jul 21, 2012
Sublime little Argentinian film that reminded me of one of Steinbeck's novellas in its directness, humility and lack of pretension. If you're going to watch it I would say - give it a chance - the opening 10 minutes are quite slow but it's perhaps necessary to get you into the rhythm of the fiim. By the end I was completely won over by the two incredible central performances and couldn't help trying to fill in the minimal narrative. In this era of 3D and whistles & bells galore it's good to see that all one needs for a truly compelling film is a camera, a man, a woman, a truck and a baby!
**** Carabo P
Jun 03, 2012
Cine minimalista de chapeau...


*** ½ Rob L
May 03, 2012
I’ll take the liberty of quoting Philip French of The Observer in full: â~In this widely praised minimalist road movie a middle-aged Argentinian long-distance lorry driver gives a young Paraguayan single mother and her five-month-old daughter a lift from southern Paraguay to Buenos Aires. Virtually nothing is said in the first half hour and little in the next 50 minutes. There are no interesting encounters, the scenery is unremarkable. But he gradually takes to the child, offers them water to drink and does a little nursing. Not exactly The Wages of Fear.â(TM) All this said, I think itâ(TM)s a little unfair and oneâ(TM)s enjoyment of this movie would very much depend on mood. The slow build-up of emotion and humdrum surrounds of the Asuncion to Buenos Aires road actually drew me in and this is a fine example of that kind of movie that manages to be diverting without any flashy show at all. Worth seeing.


*** ½ ?irin T
Apr 24, 2012
an adorable movie...

**** ½ Tom H
Apr 19, 2012
This has to be the film with the most subtext I've ever seen. Also the most tacit. Two tight-lipped people share time on a trip from Paraguay to Buenos Aires. Without saying much, both are beautifully articulate. The ending is just as tender as it is fragile and leaves the viewer in limbo as life very often does. Wonderful example of Argentine film making.
**** Paul E
Apr 09, 2012
An absolutely beautiful movie that brilliantly captures the changing notes and cadences of a relationship through the smallest gestures between the often silent protagonists. A deserving winner of the Cannes Camera d'Or prize last year.

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***** Mike B
Feb 19, 2012
A human story unfolds in the cab as old as the acacia trees being hauled. At the end of this film I felt like I'd just watched a classic. Superb.


**** ½ Carlos M
Jan 17, 2012
A small gem that makes perfect use of a realistic approach to tell a sensitive story. Mostly silent and showing more than saying, it takes its time to present us the characters and the dynamics between them - and Germán de Silva is fantastic in an Oscar-worthy performance.


**** ½ Cristian T
Jan 08, 2012
An interesting Argentinian movie.


** Felicity H
Jan 05, 2012
Pretty and fairly touching but ultimately yawn-inducing.


*** Jonathan B
Dec 21, 2011
A very slow placed road movie from Argentina, with no dogs present on this journey. Not much really happens and there is hardly any dialogue in the first 30 minutes, that being said the dialogue is pretty spartan throughout the whole film). Despite this, Las Acacias is quite compelling and the central performances hold your attention and engage you. A visual poem, director Pablo Giorgelli favours long lingering takes than fast intercutting, which helps you soak up the frame.


* Mike G
Dec 14, 2011
The film which promises much but never gets going. Truck driver picks up lady to take her and her baby to Buenos Aires, drives there and then drops her off......


*** Rory P
Dec 04, 2011
The opening shots feel pretentious in their length, the story is predictable and I suppose doesn't add up to much, but the human interactions are well observed. For me that is a very significant plus point.


***** Cristobal H
Nov 02, 2011
Wonderfull! One of the best movies of 2011