(Sanma no aji)

Directed by Adolfo Aristarain. 2003.

Talking Pictures alias







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Fernando (Federico Luppi), a Professor of Literature in his sixties in Buenos Aires and his wife Lili (Mercedes Sampietro), a social worker are respected in the community and loving partners. Their world is turned upside down however when Fernando receives notice that he is being asked to retire early. The enforced retirement, a result of the economic crisis in Argentina, comes as a complete shock and he and his wife are forced to make drastic decisions that threaten the foundations of their comfortable life. Based on the novel The Renaissance by Lorenzo F. Aristariain, Common Ground, the new film by Argentine director Adolfo Aristarain (A Place in the World, Martin), is a story about love, getting older, and discovering what is important in life. It is also an acid social comment on the current state of life in Argentina where thousands of Argentinans have had to face a similar end to their secure middle class existence. 

Fernando and Lili have a son Pedro (Pablo Rago) who lives comfortably in Spain with his wife and two children. A leftist man of strong convictions, Fernando tells his son about his meager pension left to him by the university but refuses his assistance. Instead he berates him for abandoning his country and selling out to make money. When the couple returns to Argentina, they are forced to sell their apartment in the city, purchase a farm and bravely set out on a new style of living. Their adjustment to rural life has its moments of sadness but their striving to live out their lives with dignity and purpose is profoundly human. Though Common Ground does not reach the heights of Aristarain's A Place in the World, it is an honest film and one that celebrates the strength of a loving family.

Howard Schumann
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