Contemporary World Cinema

The Summit

Santiago Mitre

Summit 01

In this incisive political drama from Argentinean director Santiago Mitre (The Student), the newly sworn-in Argentine president faces a formidable challenge when geopolitical wheeling-dealing and backstage family issues collide at a South American oil-trade summit.

Returning to the political realm after his briskly paced 2011 debut The Student, Santiago Mitre's timely third feature, The Summit, explores behind-the-scenes facets of political power and the solitary aspects of the presidential office.

Hernán Blanco (an impeccably nuanced performance by Ricardo Darín) faces his first presidential challenge at a South American summit aimed at creating an oil-trade pact for the region. Matters are complicated by backstage family issues that threaten to erode Blanco's everyman veneer.

Mitre's camera details both the public and backroom dealings of South American political leaders where the Brazilian leader (Leonardo Franco), nicknamed the Emperor, reigns. Hoping to upend Brazilian ambitions, the Mexican president (Daniel Giménez Cacho) tries to talk Blanco into a counter-proposal. The politicking continues as the US requests a top-secret meeting and their envoy (Christian Slater) offers Blanco a proposal reminiscent of the "Open Veins" that writer Eduardo Galeano details in his influential 1971 book, Open Veins of Latin America, about the continent and its many ills.

Elegantly constructed and supported by an all-star cast, The Summit melds political thriller with societal commentary while probing the nebulous depths of politics today.

DIANA SANCHEZ

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