Delightful tale of an unlikely bond

German De Silva and  Hebe Duarte, with Nayra Calle Mamani as the baby, in Las Acacias
German De Silva and Hebe Duarte, with Nayra Calle Mamani as the baby, in Las Acacias

THERE are few words spoken in Las Acacias (Cert 12A) but that makes first-time director Pablo Giorgelli’s road movie all the more poignant. It’s the tale of an unlikely bond that grows between two strangers - an almost love story in fact.

Moving a cargo of timber from rural Paraguay to Buenos Aires, truck driver Ruben (German de Silva) has agreed to give a lift all the way to a young local woman (Hebe Duarte). When she turns up cradling a five-month-old baby you sense his disapproval as they set off on the journey in awkward silence which lasts for hundreds of miles.

The expression on the face of De Silva, a writer and director who has acted in theatre but never before in a movie, wonderfully speaks volumes as the driver begins to thaw out. It becomes clear they both share an unspoken sense of loneliness and loss but will they ever be able to get close to each other?

It’s a slow journey but never dull. The prestigious Camera D’Or was one of several awards Las Acacias won at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, but surely the bug-eyed and delightfully placid baby, Nayra Calle Mamani, deserves a nomination for best supporting actor.

That remarkable actor Eddie Marsan turns in a compelling performance in Tinge Krishnan’s debut feature, Junkhearts (Cert 15) as a reclusive ex soldier suffering from post traumatic stress disorder. One day he takes pity on gobby teen runaway Lynette (newcomer Carese Reid, also excellent) and a touching relationship develops between the equally desperate pair.

But then Lynette’s sinister boyfriend (Tom Sturridge) shows up and before long Frank finds himself an outcast in his own home. The girl joins in the bullying of the older man, but is that just because she is being bullied herself?

Reservations about the film stem largely from screenwriter Simon Frank’s plot which periodically breaks away to another part of London to middle-class single mother Romola Garai and leads to the rather unlikely ending.