Contemporary World Cinema

A Sort of Family

Diego Lerman

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Director Diego Lerman’s latest feature follows a determined woman as she navigates the legally complex and morally dubious labyrinth of child adoption in the rural, disadvantaged communities of Argentina’s north.

Legal adoption can be a long, laborious, and exhausting process. Its frustrations and disappointments often push eager would-be parents to find other arrangements. Diego Lerman's latest feature, A Sort of Family, follows one determined woman as she navigates the complex world of child adoption in Argentina's Misiones province.

Malena (Bárbara Lennie), a doctor, is overjoyed when she learns that the woman whose child she intends to adopt is due to give birth soon. But after she travels from Buenos Aires to be present for the occasion, it becomes clear that the process will not be a smooth one — the biological mother's family suddenly demands an extra $10,000. Urged by both the doctor at the clinic and a lawyer, Malena enlists the help of her estranged husband Mariano (Claudio Tolcachir), who has been hesitant to adopt a child under the couple's current circumstances. Through their experiences, Lerman exposes a legally and morally ambiguous system sustained by the complicity of medical and legal professionals.

Set in the rural, disadvantaged communities of Argentina's north, Lerman's film uses thriller overtones to construct a suspenseful social drama. In a superbly calibrated performance, Lennie portrays the frustration of a woman overwhelmed by a situation that exceeds her control. But her desire for a family trumps her better instincts, leading her to deal with a corrupt system where adoption is just another transaction, one that exploits the poor, the desperate, and the newly born.

DIANA SANCHEZ

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