Screened as part of NZIFF 2003

El Bonaerense 2002

Directed by Pablo Trapero

Argentina / Chile In Spanish with English subtitles
92 minutes 35mm

Director, Screenplay


Guillermo Bill Nieto


Nicholas Goldbart


Damas Gratis
Pablo Lescano


Jorge Roman
Dario Levy
Mimi Arduh
Hugo Anganuzzi
Victor Hugo Carrizo


Cannes (Un Certain Regard), Toronto, Vancouver, London 2002; Rotterdam 2003


The hot young Argentinian director Pablo Trapero gets up close and personal with Buenos Aires’ notorious police force, El Bonaerense. Zapa, a rural locksmith in his mid 30s, unwittingly collaborates in a robbery, and is caught. Conviction is commuted, off the record, by a convocation of ‘uncles’ who arrange a move to the city and a career in the police. The world Zapa enters is shambolic, dangerous and brazenly corrupt, but it also offers a sense of community: a community of gun-slinging sociopaths. Ever the dupe, he is exploited by his seniors and threatens to outwear the affections and sexual appetites of a smarter, older woman he meets on the job. The bizarre details of police venality reek of authenticity. The tone is more amazed than appalled, although even Zapa eventually recognises that exploitation must have its limits.

“Trapero, who displays a great eye for authenticity and detail and a remarkable skill in treating the extraordinary in a realistic way, creates a powerful portrait of everyday life in Argentina...” — Chicago Reader