Palatable: The Fish Child

The Fish Child (2009)
Written and directed by Lucía Puenzo
Produced by José María Morales, Luis Puenzo, Charles Gillibert, Cristian Izzi, Marin Karmitz, Nathanaël Karmitz, Claire Dornoy, Miguel Morales, Fernando Sirianni
Starring Inés Efron, Mariela Vitale, Pep Munné, Diego Velázquez, Arnaldo André, Carlos Bardem, Julián Doregger
Murder’s incidental to certain concurrences of jealousy, abhorrence and amor, as when a contentious judge (Munné) penning allegedly inculpatory memoirs is found greased after imbibing a poisoned potation by a primary suspect, his pretty Guarani maid and sometime fucktoy (Vitale), who (unbeknownst to her employer or investigating police in his wake) had connived to abscond from her situation with his teenage daughter (Efron), a flight instigated by their true love and underwritten by fencing their household’s valuables. Perforce less pleasing than her precedent XXY, Puenzo’s sophomore feature’s produced and actualized with equal gracility, anomalously accessible for anachrony and unraveling elegantly to disbosom woeful enigmata adumbrated by folkloric hearsay while limning its lesbian lovers. Her cast underplay expressively, by countenance conveying more than with dialogue; without misstep, the leads emanate prickly passions hobbled by stealth and exploitation, and André’s outstanding as a whilom pop singer, the domestic’s estranged father haunted by his daughter’s absence. Serviceable as both a love story and crime drama, Puenzo’s adaptation of her novel attests an authorial and aesthetic superiority to her father Luis; she’s sadly as unnoted (beyond the bourn of her native Argentina) as every female director more concerned with artistry than politics.