Directed by: #ManuelVargas
A heated argument between a young Hispanic couple breaks out when they find out they are expecting.
Director Manuel Vargas’ grounded Argumento is a realistic portrayal of people in love and the complexities of parenthood. Maria (Christina Cruz Rodríguez) and Carlos (Miguel Carvajal Leoni) are expecting a child and they have conflicting feelings about it. Maria wants time to think it over; she currently doesn’t want the baby. Carlos, on the other hand, does want the baby. They butt heads with a very real back and forth throughout the film’s short but steady runtime, and resolutions aren’t easily made but sprinklings of mutual understanding creep in as the conversation meets its end.
Something unnoticeable at first, thanks to the truly brilliant performances from Rodríguez and Leoni, is that all of the action takes place within a single shot. Cinematographer Peter Klemek follows the couple from their house, to the store across the street and back again; all while maintaining a steady hand and keeping the important subjects within the frame. There are a couple sections where cuts could have been made, but that isn’t necessarily the case for Argumento. Given the small nature of the film and it’s intimate themes, it’s quite the right choice to use such a technique to capture all the tiny moments in the actor’s delivery.
The film tackles pro-choice and pro-life ideologies and does so fairly well. Rodríguez and Leoni deliver striking performances with the altering sides, they share a great on-screen chemistry and their situation is believable. As the camera follows them around, they play within scenes as if no camera were there at all. Argumento gives off a fly-on-the-wall feel, while looking more like a stage piece adapted for the screen. There are intricacies in the written dialogue, but also in the movement of characters and the camera. Vargas’ direction is fantastic, and his work alongside Eva Aurelia Grey and Jonas Owens full of life.
Argumento doesn’t really have any shortcomings, at least not gleamingly obvious to the viewer. It opens up a dialogue on the rights of women and shows how important it is to allow them to make decisions, especially when it involves their body. What is nice about this film is that it also doesn’t shove anything in our faces. It brings forward a topic that’s incredibly relevant and lets us think about it. Argumento is a wonderfully written and performed film, with heavy emotion, and it doesn’t wrap everything up perfectly with a pretty bow, because hey, that’s life.
Watch the trailer for Argumento below.