Calm and without mock drama, Murga shows a group of rich children in a fenced-off compound in Buenos Aires who have the place to themselves for a week when their parents go away on a journey. What naughty things are they going to do? It won awards in Thessaloniki and also back home.
All over the world, but above all in poor countries, the rich lock themselves up in ‘gated communities’ behind high fences and barriers put up by private security companies. Last year, the Mexican director Rodriga Plá used this as the basis for his dramatic thriller La zona. The second film by Celina Murga, who previously made Ana and the Others (2004), is of a very different order.
A Week Alone is almost entirely set in such an isolated compound in the outer suburbs of Buenos Aires. The manicured grass of the lawns evokes American melodramas. With an observing and distant gaze, Murga sketches the adventures of several rich young children and teenagers while their parents are away for a week. The only supervision is by a cook and the guards. The children do not seem impressed by their situation and entertain themselves with games, and hanging around and breaking into houses where the owners are away.
A Week Alone is, however stylised, in many respects almost documentary. Not only the locations took little production design, the children are also authentic compound inhabitants. The absence of major conflicts paradoxically gives the film a suppressed suspense. When the little brother of the housekeeper comes to visit, class differences come to the surface. –IFFR