La Flor review – 13 thrilling hours of lovers, spies and scorpions

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Six stories featuring the same four actors unfold in inventive and exasperating style in an arthouse ultramarathon

Six or so hours into Mariano Llinás’s 13-hours-plus arthouse ultramarathon, the third episode of the third chapter begins with a long bout of snoring. That’s the presiding meta spirit of this magnificent, inventive, playful, exasperating film, Argentina’s longest ever, shot over 10 years. In its nexus of stories, La Flor inevitably invokes the country’s fabulist god Jorge Luis Borges – but as if Llinás had given up on the metaphysics, stopped trying to exit the labyrinth and was content to watch folk passing through.

The director pops up at the beginning on a park bench to explain that its six stories, featuring the same four female actors, form a structure: four stories rising up with a beginning but no end (the petals), one totally enclosed central tale (the ovule), a closing one that proceeds from the middle to the end (the stalk), making a flower (hence the title).

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