Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Lucia Snieg, Vera Fogwill, Edda DÃƒÂaz
Director: Vera Fogwill;Martin Desalvo
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama
Nine-year-old Eugenia grows up fast to take care of her irresponsible, drug-addicted, pregnant mother.
An Argentinean Debut
Amos Lassen | Little Rock, Arkansas | 05/17/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
""Las mantenidas sin sueños (Kept and Dreamless)"
An Argentinean Debut
Florence, a young irresponsible mother & and her precocious daughter, Eugenia, have an unusual relationship. The roles between the two are reversed. Florence is totally inept at caring for a daughter, whereas Eugenia, only 10 years old, shows maturity and responsibility far beyond what her age might lead you to suppose.
Set during the economic crisis in Argentina of the 1990's, "Kept and Dreamless" gives us the character of Eugenia, a nine year old girl and her mother, Florencia. They live a weird but colorful life surrounded by a strange collection of neighbors and family. For Eugenia life is unpleasant. Her mother is a drug addict and a dysfunctional person.
Florencia (Vera Fogwell), was a once-promising med student, but now can't ever remember to keep her daughter home from school on a national holiday. On Eugenia's birthday, Florencia somehow manages to stand on her own two feet long enough to find a cat at the city dump. Eugenia is mad because she wants a store-bought cat. She wants mom to be sober. Eugenia accepts the cat, accepts her disappointing mom, even though it's very likely that her arms and legs will soon be covered with flea bites, or worse.
In "Kept and Dreamless", Florencia is often in a drug-addled state, but the film shies away from showing us the process. Nobody expects this slice-of-life melodrama from Argentina to be graphic in its detailing of a junkie's relationship with his/or her paraphernalia, but since the life of a little girl almost comes to a horrific end, "Kept and Dreamless" should have the honesty to depict drug use without any heightening, or irony. Living in a house that doubles as a domesticated drug den, Eugenia is no ordinary nine-year-old girl. She should be able to differentiate cocaine from powdered sugar but can't. Eugenia drinks the iced tea laced with the narcotic before she spits it out. A child raised in a home where drugs are present should not be that naive. And this is the problem with "Kept and Dreamless". It suffers from being too schematic, therefore, not especially realistic about drug addiction. When it's convenient to the narrative, Florencia gets her self together and manages to hold a job that requires her to clean the home of a wealthy childhood friend. The film glosses over the recovery period, in which an addict like Florencia would need to clean up her act, and jumps ahead to her life as a functional housekeeper. The filmmaker never shows us any needles, or white lines on a glass surface, the transition that Florencia undergoes is easier to accept. Sara(Mirta Busnelli) hires her former classmate more as an ego trip, than out of friendship. But the high school rivals join forces to berate Florencia's mom for putting undue pressure on her daughter to become a doctor, when the old woman visits Sara's palatial home. Florencia gets a free pass. Mom is to blame for all her f***-ups. Florencia doesn't earn our sympathies honestly, and nothing is resolved, since "Kept and Dreamless" ends with Eugenia's visit to her father's house.
The film is part of First Run Features' Global Lens Collection and it is a strong film that could have been powerful. There are moments of high drama and the film has a humor to it. It is stylishly original but it could have been so much more. I like the post-modern feminine approach and there are moments of greatness here.