The final film for me in the Cornerhouse Spanish language film festival was the Uruguayan Gigante. For anyone thinking that Spanish speakers all over the world are noisy and never stop talking, Gigante must come as a surprise. It’s an incredibly low key film, with startlingly little talking going on.
Generously built Jara works the night shift staring at the CCTV screens in a supermarket in Montevideo. He leads a quiet life, mostly lying on the sofa at home, letting daytime television provide some background to his sleeping. Every night he watches the cleaning ladies march out onto the shop floor with their trolleys and mops and buckets, ‘looking’ the other way when some of them steal the odd item.
It’s not until the night he discovers Julia, upsetting a large display of toilet paper when she inadvertently backs into it while mopping, that Jara perks up and changes his slow life style. To begin with he takes to watching Julia on CCTV, and later follows her around Montevideo, learning what she does and where she goes.
Watching Jara on film, we know he’s mostly harmless, or so we hope. If it weren’t for that, the film would have unpleasant overtones of stalking, which strictly speaking it is.
Will the gentle giant get his girl in the end? He certainly works hard to get her, but is intensely shy and we worry he’ll never pluck up the courage to speak to Julia. And when he does, will she rebuff his advances?
Lovely film, and very ‘un-Latin’ in temperament.