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Lost Embrace Review

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A young Jewish man who spends most of his life in a shopping mall longs to obtain a passport so he can journey back to Poland, as his father did, but those close to him have more important things to worry about.

★★★★★

A gratifying portrait of cross-cultural friendliness emerges from Daniel Burman’s restrained study of dislocated identity and exiled acceptance. Bored with his existence in a shopping centre in a once resolutely Jewish district of Buenos Aires, Daniel Hendler seeks to obtain a Polish passport to spread his wings. However, his family and neighbours are too preoccupied with the economic crises blighting their adopted homeland to contemplate his wanderlust.

Well-served by a laudably authentic ensemble, the director explores both character and ethnicity with a canny wit. But the conclusion slumps into sentimentality and smacks of a contrivance that has been refreshingly absent from Hender’s amusingly morose mooching around the mall.

At its best when exploring how racially diverse neighbours manage to merge themselves into a viable community, this amusing tale of ethnicity and economic necessity stumbles into a cosy conclusion that dissipates its offbeat charm.

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