Tribeca 2018 Review: “Dry Martina” (2018) ★★★★


Latin American cinema has already made a name for itself for being fearless and bold. Films coming from there are never afraid to tackle subject matters that might be now accepted by the majority of viewers or might be considered nasty or too daring. Che Sandoval’s “Dry Martina” is about the protagonist – Martina who has lost interest in men and turned absolutely frigid. She used to be a famous singer, but now, neither music nor men she dates excite her. She gets neither sexually nor moral satisfaction. Soon, she realizes that her problem is much bigger than the lack of sexual satisfaction. She lacks the unity of family she is craving for.

As a singer, Martina is well known in Argentina. Her mother is a legend as well. Her father has been in a coma for a year. She has a cat that needs to be sterilized, and a partner names Juan, who is also a close friend of hers but with whom she always sets limits. Martina’s cat escapes the veterinary clinic and is found by Francisca. The story of this acquaintance does not come to an end after the cat is safely brought back. Francisca, who is also a fan, soon claims she is Martina’s sister. As if that’s not enough, Martina meets Francisca’s handsome boyfriend Cesar. She realizes the young man can be the cure for the emptiness she has been feeling deep inside her. Maybe, he can awaken her sexual desire. With all of that on her mind, she disregards Francisca’s request to take a DNA test.

Well, I have tried to keep my part of the story as polite and discreet as possible. Writer and director Che Sandoval as does the complete opposite, as the language of the film is quite radical and daring, as used in real world. Certain scenes are brutally honest and open in the best possible way. And once you get to learn a bit more about Martina -more than she is willing to reveal, obviously, you start understanding her decisions and to where she is heading. We are yet to find out the truth about Francisca – is she indeed Martina’s sister or not? But there is one thing we’ll never doubt about her – she is honest and trustworthy. It’s obvious that she is not making us anything. And it is Martina who is trying to take advantage and use Francisca’s boyfriend for her own pleasure.

In conclusion, “Dry Martina” is not about an expected family reunion as it might seem. It’s about the price we pay when we are emotionally dry and unable to express any kindness and compassion at any level. Martina is a character who will have to realize what is more important for her – a five-minute relationship or a long-term friendship. For that, she will have to embark herself on a funny journey, and you will never get bored accompanying her on it. You just have to give her a chance to speak up in her own unique way.

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