The Dead Man and Being Happy

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The Dead Man and Being Happy
El muerto y ser feliz | Javier Rebollo, 2012
Spain/Argentina/France | Spanish with English subtitles | Format: DCP | 94 minutes

North American Premiere!

Rush tickets available!

For his third feature, the gifted Spanish director Javier Rebollo (Woman Without Piano) has decamped to Argentina and created a literate, screwball road movie that Borges surely would have loved. The “dead man” of the title is Santos (veteran Spanish screen star José Sacristán), a cancer-stricken hired killer who flees his Buenos Aires hospital bed and sets off on one last assignment. It is a journey that takes him through an interior Argentina rarely glimpsed in movies, from the Cordoba resort town of La Cumbrecita (with its disproportionate—and disconcerting—population of elderly Germans) to the northern province of Santiago del Estero. Along the way, Santos finds himself joined by Alejandra (the wonderful Roxana Blanco), an attractive middle-aged woman who impulsively jumps into his vintage Ford Falcon at a gas station and soon thwarts him from his intended path. At one point, our curious couple stops off at a decrepit beach town described by one of the film’s dueling voice-over narrators as “a strange mix of paradise and apocalypse”—which, as it happens, also perfectly sums up Rebollo’s playful and unexpectedly moving reverie on love, death and the open highway.

Series: NYFF50: Main Slate

Venue: Francesca Beale Theater, Alice Tully Hall

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