Chinese Take-Away (‘Un Cuento Chino’)

COMIC DRAMA; 1hr 33min (Spanish with subtitles)

STARRING: Ricardo Darín, Ignacio Huang, Muriel Santa Ana

Cowabunga: from left, Darín and Huang

What does a cow falling from an Asian sky have to do with the crusty proprietor of a Buenos Aires hardware store? More than anyone might imagine in writer-director Sebastián Borensztein’s disarming, factually inspired story. 


Roberto (Darín) is a loner who could use an awakening. Locked in emotionally, he pushes people away, including the perfectly lovely woman (Santa Ana) who is plainly in love with him. Everything changes, however, when helpless young Jun (Huang, engagingly wide-eyed) tumbles into Roberto’s world after a freak accident — that would be the cow — disrupts his own. Jun has travelled to Argentina is search of his uncle, who is nowhere to be found. He speaks no Spanish and Roberto no Mandarin.


With unconcealed misgivings, Roberto temporarily adopts the stray. The entire process is a lesson in frustration; anyone expecting instant sweetness and light will be dealing with disconcerting tartness. Not a great deal seems to go on, yet with the stealth of the unexpected, the paradoxical pair wins you over, the distance between them unfolding as a bridge to something unexpected and rare.