I watched Laura Citarella’s Trenque Lauquen at last year’s Film Fest Gent. This year, the Argentine director is back with another Trenque Lauquen, considerably shorter and commissioned by Film Fest Gent, for which she was paired with Japanese composer Eiko Ishibashi (Drive My Car).
The first Trenque Lauquen followed characters lost in the act of disentangling layers of entwined stories, moving through a labyrinth of narratives from the past and present, far and near. If that film dealt with stories within stories, the new film shows us storybooks within storybooks.
Back at the titular city, Citarella has come to return to Trenque Lauquen’s inhabitants, images she took of their small city. As the audience-residents watch the film (in which Citarella had watched their city through her camera), the director walks out to a cafe and watches the city again. We watch both the filmmaker and her audience watching Trenque Lauquen, as we also watch Trenque Lauquen (both the short film that we’re seeing as well as snippets of the feature the audience in the film is watching) and Trenque Lauquen (through the short film and through the fragments of the feature alike).
Trenque Lauquen ends with a shot reminiscent of the finale of the previous film: a woman, probably Laura Paredes, walking through a misty meadow. From behind the camera, we hear Citarella and her collaborators:
“Can you see anything?
“The fog has cleared a lot…but maybe…the fog is still the same.”
You would do well to come up with a more apt and concise summation of Citarella’s cinematic practice.