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Bolivia Review

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Freddie Flores leaves his family in Bolivia to become a cook in a poky cafe in a city but after suffering unceasing racial taunts and agonising isolation he is tempted into seeking solace with Paraguayan waitress, Rosa Sanchez.

★★★★★

Having explored juvenile alienation in Pizza, Booze, Smokes, Israel Adrian Caetano concentrates on the plight of Argentina's economic migrants in this neo-realist study of despair, exploitation and resentment.

The mere fact that Freddie Flores would leave his family in Bolivia to become a cook in a poky cafe in a city itself in the grips of depression starkly conveys the level of crippling poverty currently blighting Latin America. But Caetano compounds Flores' misery by subjecting him to unceasing racial taunts and an agonising isolation that tempts him into seeking solace with Paraguayan waitress, Rosa Sanchez.

Shot over three years, largely on a single set, the film makes the most of its restless monochrome imagery and fragmented narrative to create a sense of foreboding about the inevitably violent conclusion. But everyone's a victim here - only some are more tragic than others.

Gruelling, but ultimately rewarding glimpse of a forgotten underclass.