The Fish Child

Lucía Puenzo
Peccadillo Pictures

The celebrated director of XXY (2007), Lucía Puenzo, is back with her latest offering. Set in Buenos Aires, it is the story of a clandestine romance. Two young girls from opposite social backgrounds are in love. One girl, Guayi, is the family maid and the other, Lala, is the daughter of her employer. They hatch a plan to return to Lake Ypoá in Guayi’s native Paraguay to live together, but through a series of spiralling events, Lala ends up in Paraguay and Guayi in a detention centre.

With beautifully stark cinematography, and a narrative that effortlessly slips between the past and the present, we learn more about Guayi’s difficult past, and empathise with her situation. Their plan was simple, to steal and sell Lala’s family’s objects – paintings, jewellery and anything of value in order to have enough money to escape. Morally, it’s not right, but as you watch the film, you want it to work out for the girls.

Puenzo’s delicate films expose a spectrum of human emotion. The Fish Child is an intense and at times tragic love-story that not only deals with taboo subject matters, but does so with style and elegance.

Shirley Stevenson