Willemien Sanders
Dr. Willemien Sanders is a regular critic at Modern Times Review.

An intimate portrayal of a dwindling lifestyle in the Argentinian back country.

An elderly couple, Alba Rosa Díaz and Juan Armando Soria according to the credits, live in the middle of nowhere in Argentina; that is, in the Tucumán province in the north of the country. Their days are filled with slowed down routines of lifelong, everyday chores, and memories of days gone by. As viewers, we are introduced to a world that is pretty remote from what most of us know: a humble dwelling, slightly messy, in an arid landscape. Shrubs, cacti, hills in the background. The goats they keep seem to be their only companions as the noises and play of the animals break open the silence and stillness. Their bleating has become an incessant daytime soundtrack, accompanying the quiet lives of the pair, and especially for Alba. A night sky so full of stars you won’t believe it’s real.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jISuo89Cjfw

Gaucho life. In a truly observational and intimate style, director Nicolás Torchinsky portrays these individuals and their surroundings with an extreme sense of patience, as he roams in and around the house. He establishes their personalities through images rather than dialogue. Relics of the past and other horse-related objects (a gaucho is an Argentinian cowboy) signify Juan’s persona, whereas domestic chores and objects define that of Alba.

In this utterly quiet world, life revolves around animals.

The Centaur’s Nostalgia records and implicitly celebrates a life – and a lifestyle – drawing to an end. Old age made Juan become an onlooker rather than a participant; he watches his younger colleague gauchos at work, earmarking goats, or celebrating some event with horses and a barbeque. Juan’s stories are accompanied by a kind of Argentinian gaucho blues, and by poetry. This utterly quiet world, in which life revolves around animals, is disappearing – here in Argentina as elsewhere on the globe. Up until this point, the film gently makes you contemplate the lives of its subjects as well as your own, and not least the differences between those lives.

The centaur’s nostalgia by Nicolás Torchinsky

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