When Liso, a handsome young man from a wealthy Argentinian family, emerges from a spell in psychiatric care, he finds himself struggling to recover the pieces of his shattered life in this delicate and affecting drama from Santiago Loza (Extraño).

Returning home, Liso finds his mother indulgent and doting, his father somewhat more impatient with his son’s apparent listlessness, while a succession of encounters with ex-girlfriends provide glimpses of the chaos his illness has caused. Only in the company of his genial grandmother and Sonia, the family’s Bolivian maid, does he find moments of respite from his struggle, but when these comforts are taken away, Liso’s hard-won equilibrium threatens to unravel.

Anchored by a sophisticated performance from Lisandro Rodriguez as Liso – by turns torpid, anguished and strangely irresistible to women – Loza’s film is gentle, undemonstrative work, unafraid to draw comedy from Liso’s condition but generous enough to treat every character with the same clear-eyed compassion. Beautifully shot in a palette of washed-out colours, La Paz is both a touching study of one man’s journey towards recovery and a subtle parable about Argentinian society in the wake of financial meltdown.

Alistair Daniel
Jameson Dublin International Film Festival