The Silence of Neto | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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The Silence of Neto


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In his first feature Guatemalan director Luis Argueta deftly places his country's struggle for political independence against the story of an 11-year-old boy's coming-of-age. For six months in 1954 Guatemala went through a series of political crises as a U.S.-instigated military coup ousted the reform-minded leftist government. The events are seen through the eyes of Neto, the asthmatic elder son of a liberal judge. In Neto's upper-middle-class household, his quietly authoritarian father and his nurturing yet wayward uncle--both in love with his mother--are implicitly proffered as political choices for Guatemala. It's not surprising, given Argueta's sympathies, that the uncle should become Neto's mentor and guardian angel. Shot on location, the film poetically conveys Argueta's awe for Guatemala's unspoiled beauty: the images and radio broadcast dispatches from the outside world are at times more compelling than the facile narrative. Facets Multimedia, 1517 W. Fullerton, Friday, July 7, 7:00 and 9:00; Saturday and Sunday, July 8 and 9, 3:00, 5:00, 7:00, and 9:00; and Monday through Thursday, July 10 through 13, 7:00 and 9:00; 281-4114.

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