The Idea of A Lake


April 23

Milagros Mumenthaler
Switzerland, Argentina, Qatar
82 min.

Milagros Mumenthaler returns to Locarno 5 years after winning the Pardo d’oro for Abrir puertas y ventanas, a subtle tale of the loss shared by three sisters. As the wind blew through their house, it felt like the breath of a ghost, inviting them to open up and grow from the experience. To be free.

La idea de un lago takes on the subject of family relationship again and of a disabling absence with the story of Inès (Carla Crespo), a woman whose father disappeared when she was a young child, one of the many victims of Argentina’s “Dirty War”. With a joyful liberty in her mise-en-scene that contrasts with the dreariness of the film’s theme, the filmmaker continues her examination of the enduring disruption caused by the missing on those who remain. Whether it is untold reflexes of avoidance or the difficulty to maintain a relationship, Inès has decided to confront these troubles in the way she usually does things: frontally (perhaps too much so), but with a sure-footed instinct. The film’s unfettered narration follows the flow of her thoughts and memories, and by doing so overcomes a key obstacle to the effort of recalling the lost ones, which is time.

Milagros Mumenthaler draws a deeply moving portrait of this woman, but also of her mother and brother, although less present onscreen. Something extraordinary occurs in that their sense of loss is passed on to us. We do, genuinely, miss that young, handsome man captured by a camera on that blissful, sunny day as he looked down at his baby girl. Inès’ truth – the only truth, really – becomes ours. Perhaps we can help her heal?

By Aurélie Godet

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