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Lake Tahoe (2009)

Diego Catano , Hector Herrera , Fernando Eimbcke  |  NR |  DVD
3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Diego Catano, Hector Herrera, Daniela Valentine, Juan Carlos Lara, Yemil Sefami
  • Directors: Fernando Eimbcke
  • Format: Color, NTSC, Subtitled
  • Language: Spanish
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Film Movement
  • DVD Release Date: November 10, 2009
  • Run Time: 81 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001PTUN34
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #81,983 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Lake Tahoe" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews


Moving... Eimbcke is a master of tone. --Screen Daily

Sweet... Carefully crafted. --The Hollywood Reporter

Lake Tahoe is a gorgeous, artfully composed miniature masterpiece! --Philadelphia City Paper

Product Description

Teenage Juan crashes his familys car into a telegraph pole on the outskirts of town, and then scours the streets searching for someone to help him fix it. His quest will bring him to Don Heber, an old paranoid mechanic whose only companion is Sica, his almost human boxer dog; to Lucia, a young mother who is convinced that her real place in life is as a lead singer in a punk band, and to The One who Knows, a teenage mechanic obsessed with martial arts and Kung Fu philosophy. The absurd and bewildering worlds of these characters drag Juan into a one day journey in which he will come to accept what he was escaping from in the first place--an event both as natural and inexplicable as a loved ones death.

Customer Reviews

3.4 out of 5 stars
3.4 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Slow Moving Experimental Film November 22, 2009
Experimental film is important to push boundaries. Sometimes the films work magic and something spectacular is discovered; other times, well it's a failed experiment. I think Lake Tahoe sits closer to the latter.

This is an incredibly subtle film. It takes patience to watch this film. Every single shot is bookended with nothing for 5 to 10 seconds. A given shot begins with a camera locked solid steady on a scene where nothing happens. That shot is held for 5 or 10 seconds. Then some kind of action occurs, a car enters the frame, stops, something happens, and then the car exits the frame. Instead of moving on, the director holds that shot for another 5 or 10 seconds. The camera never moves. Frequently the film is butt cut away to black, sometimes something significant happens with sound, or mostly nothing happens.

Not much happens in this film. A boy runs into a telephone pole. His car won't start. He searches for a mechanic. He meets several people along the way. About 45 minutes into the film each character starts to make sense, and then they finally fit into the story. That first half hour is very slow. But it does set the stage for the reveal at the end.

The film is unrated, and is presented in Mexican with English subtitles. There are a few moments of subtitled strong language. There is a bedroom scene with a female briefly topless in dim light that lasts about 30 seconds. The film is not long, one hour and seventeen minutes.

On the one hand, this was not a very good film. The bookended shot technique was so slow and methodical as to almost induce sleep. On the other hand, the shots were so slow and the story so slow to develop, I kept thinking something has to happen. In fact that last half hour or so, is very impactful.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Deadpan, Droll and Devastating May 7, 2009
Mexican director Fernando Eimbcke was news to me before this feature (his second), but after watching LAKE TAHOE, I'm going to keep an eye out for his future work. He's got great, assured technique, a good hand with actors (the cast here is marvelously offhand), and a refreshing sense of how to structure a screenplay. TAHOE starts like an extended shaggy dog story, funny in a deadpan way, but rather familiar in style (think early Jarmusch). Then, midway through, as we piece together the storyline, the narrative becomes richer, darker, and unexpectedly moving. This one will linger with you for days afterword. Highly recommended for fans of the offbeat (and here's one film that manages true eccentricity without feeling in the least forced). Very fine work all around.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Director missed the boat on this one! January 9, 2010
Somewhere along the road, director Fernando Eimbcke has missed the boat with this film. Although the concept of escape as a theme, it doesn't come across to the audience. According to Eimbcke, this story has autobiographical elements. And aside from that, the film style he employs is not only highly unusual, but annoying.

A brief summary: Young teen boy, Juan has crashed his car into a telephone pole, nothing serious. He then attempts to get it repaired in this desolate town at various autorepair places, but encounters a number of quirky people along the way. To accomplish that, he needs to accept whatever their idiosyncratic behavior or odd demands.

According to an interview, director Eimbcke has said that when he lost his father, he crashed the family car, and wondered what state his mind was in at the time. The viewer isn't given an indication about the crash. There is nothing to tell us that the boy is grieving, until much later on do we learn the truth. Give us a clue, let us feel that mood by observing if not by telling.

Second, Eimbcke tells us the boy is "always on the run" all the time, running from place to place. Correction, the audience doesn't get that, what we see is a young man just trying to get his car fixed. What the viewer learns is that it is frustration that makes him go from place to place. That is clearly not "always on the run". We are expecting something to happen.

Third, the shooting style of the scenes. It is ok to see wide-angle shots of the buildings, land, town, etc., as it gives the viewer the feeling of observing the whole picture. Another oddity is the long shots of an empty scene. But what was annoying is the blank screen approach. At time, it was minimally 10-20 seconds of blank screen.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format:Amazon Instant Video
Fernando Eimbcke's exploration of big issues in the settings of small-town life in Mexico is very human, often entertaining and moving.

After crashing his family's car into a telegraph pole, Juan (Diego Catano) spend a day trying to find help to fix it. He meets an old paranoid mechanic, a young mother who's leaning towards punk singer career, and a martial arts fan. Through these absurd encounters Juan eventually comes to accept the personal tragedy he was running away from.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars DeSica + Antonioni April 16, 2010
By Brandon
Format:Amazon Instant Video
Usually I start off one of these things with a little capsule summary of the plot, but I really don't feel like that is necessary for this film because in the end the plot isn't really all that important to the enjoyment of the film. In short, it's about a young man wandering from vignette to vignette in order to find solace from a tragedy that he and his car endured.

In actuality, this is one of those films that you just have to sit and let watch over you. Previous reviewers have suggested that this is a hearkening back to the cinema verite of latin american auteurs such as de Sica, and I would aggree that he is definitely a major influence on Eimbcke. But I would suggest that there is almost more of a feeling akin to La Cienega in the long shots and uncaring family. Or the meandering story in the 1966 classic Blow-Up. In all of these films I feel that there is unremitting commitment to portraying a very specific tone, and that's what makes Lake Tahoe work. For example, the way that Diego Catano wanders in and out of wide angle landscapes expressionistically conveys his surreal odyssey for car parts. I highly recommend this if you're looking for something that won't dictate what you get out of it, but instead will put you in a mood to think about it yourself.

Through all of my huffing and puffing about theme and cinematography I forgot to mention that the reason that the movie is enjoyable to watch is that it balances out all of the weighty moments in the film with snippets of macabre humor. It's not the type of movie that will necessarily make you laugh out loud all that much, but if you take a step back, you'll see that there's a dark humor to the film, and by extension (because of the realism) the world it represents.
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