The Call (La llamada)

What do you do when you’re stuck in a rut? Stefano Pasetto’s finely balanced tale of two women from different generations and very different sensibilities provides a surprising answer. Frustrated in each of their relationships, the two women get together and leave town, boldly striking out on their own and forming an indelible bond despite their many differences. This is only the beginning of a wonderfully liberating experience that defies narrative expectations.

Lea (Francesca Inaudi) is the young, free spirit. Working as a laborer in a food-processing factory, she knows that she is cut out for better things. She’s happy living with her tattoo-artist boyfriend, but is eager for new experiences. Lucia (Sandra Ceccarelli), on the other hand, has diametrically opposing values and a very different temperament. She is a middle-aged airline stewardess, married to an allergist, and trying to have a baby. Everything about her is uptight, so her psychiatrist tells her to get out and enjoy life. When she advertises to teach piano lessons, Lea blows into her life. The two are polar opposites: Lea walks around barefoot, while Lucia can’t stand being touched. But all this is about to change. When Lea suddenly gets a job in Patagonia, Lucia is stunned. The person who has brought a spark into her life so unexpectedly is about to leave without a hint of regret.

“The Call” follows this blooming and unlikely relationship. As the two women grow closer and closer, they must also deal with the men they have left behind. Free, independent and strikingly selfish, the older Lucia must learn how to grapple with Lea’s refusal to be pinned down. Both Lea and Lucia are beautifully counter-balanced throughout, and Pasetto proves wonderfully adept at illustrating their unique dynamic. “The Call” displays a mature cinematic sensitivity and unusual emotional acuity. [Synopsis by Piers Handling/Toronto International Film Festival]


A sweltering summer’s day in 1987. In a small rural town in Argentina, everyone is longing for rain. Lucia swims laps at the pool early in the morning. Later on she sweats over her books at the kitchen table. She is studying hard because she’s determined to go to university in Buenos Aires. Meanwhile, her sister lies in bed with her leg in plaster, bored to death. The other teenagers sit out the heat at the pool, messing around. Girls chat about the boys, and vice versa. Who snogged who yesterday? But there are some who aren’t interested in any of that, like Andrés, a passionate beekeeper, or Ana, who likes reading books. At one point, Lucia has had enough of her annoying sister and goes out into the countryside with Ana. Here the two girls are left to their own devices. None of the shots in this film are quite like any you’ve seen before. Adults barely put in an appearance. The young people drift along, propelled by their own desires, but they don’t really know how to handle them. Sometimes they get up to some pretty loopy things; the talk is often about disasters and death. Some of them just want to get away. And with the night comes the rain they’ve all been waiting for. [Synopsis courtesy of Berlinale]