TIFF 2011: BONSAI

Bonsái (Cristián Jiménez, 2011). With his wistful sophomore feature, Cristián Jiménez reminds me of what it is that I detest in Hollywood rom coms. They're nowhere near as brave, or sexy, or truthful as Bonsái's delicate exploration of a young writer's first love, and how eight years later it becomes a story intricately manicured by memory. The metaphor is apparent but effective: by trimming the roots and finding the proper container, a story of the past is shaped to aesthetic purpose; editing is aligned to gardening. With deft strokes of humor and a seesaw narrative structure that bounces back and forth over an eight-year period, Jiménez achieves considerable charm in his portrait of first love, its loss, and how the craft of literature mends the distance. It suggests that memory itself is a craft one can hone.


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