A Red Bear

Institute History

  • 2003 Sundance Film Festival


Part western, part family melodrama, A Red Bear is a magnificently perceptive film that wrenchingly probes what it means to survive and be a good father in a harsh, depressed suburb on the outskirts of Buenos Aires.

When sad-eyed, reserved Ruben gets out of prison after seven years, no one meets him at the gate. His wife, now living with a new man, has never forgiven his criminal behavior. Ruben quickly lands a jitney driver job and cautiously attempts to re-establish ties with his daughter, Alicia, whom he last knew as a baby. A man of decisive action but few words, he subtly shows Alicia who he really is and how much she means to him. Like an outlaw hero carving out his own brand of justice in the Old West, he will stop at nothing to provide for his family. Veteran theater actor Julio Chavez gives a marvelously naturalistic performance as an extremely tender, ruthlessly violent man both trapped and freed by his own idea of nobleness.

Director Israel Adrián Caetano's genius lies in his willingness to allow scenes enough breathing room so that nuanced relationships can unfold. With this stunning drama, he establishes himself as a master of social realism and a key figure in a new generation of Argentine cinema.

— Caroline Libresco

Screening Details

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