Play Review

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Cristina (Herrera) finds a bag in a dustbin, and develops and obsession with its owner (Ulloa).

★★★★★

A quirky first feature from Chilean director Scherson, this sees a pretty young Santiago nurse, Cristina, developing an obsession with a man, Tristán, whose bag she finds in a dustbin. Systematically examining the contents, she traces him to his house, but prefers to remain an unseen observer in his life – which, now he’s split with his partner, is becoming unpredictable.

We’re let in on more details of Tristán’s life than Cristina, but we still share her fascination as his story unfolds. Neither character is revealed in depth, but surprising touches indicate striking eccentricities (Cristina suddenly starts smelling strangers’ necks on public transport, for example). A subtle, enjoyable observational drama, although the muted ending makes Play feel a bit inconsequential – perhaps a deliberate attempt to reflect the reality of its protagonists’ lives.

An offbeat, quietly absorbing film that manages to depict loneliness without being depressing. It’s light on emotional impact, though.