I believe the appeal here is how foreign the movie is. Anything else is but a slight twist on the american romantic comedy: boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl back. In this case, he doesn’t. However, I seem to always encouter this supposedly ‘realist’ gloomy twist at the end of various recent indie foreign films. Let’s say there were no surprises there.
The lead actor has a Lavant-like face, and he’s given a slight limp at the start, but no cinematic imagination to showcase these quirks, which leads me to believe that the people involved take the story seriously.
Unfortunately, the ground mined here is of light general sweeps of reference posing as study (of ethnic identity). Oh yes, the environment, the living conditions, are of a derived realism, but we need something else than simple representation before it aims to touch us.
Skip it. I rented it because Arriagua, one of our best living screenwriters mentionned it in an interview. Something about the action of the opening scene. Fair enough, but not sustained.