By Phoebe Kuo, Contributing Writer
“Jacqueline (Argentine)” begins with a rather absurd opening: a French woman named Jacqueline Dumont (Camille Rutherford) enters and asks the narrator (Wyatt Cenac), the alleged director of this movie, to film her before she exposes a scandal that promises to take down Argentina’s ruling government. Though having no evidence or concrete proof, the director trusts that Jacqueline has something worth shooting and embarks on his journey to Argentina to film her.
The first half of the film is slow as the audience is invited to observe the intricacies of Jacqueline Dumont’s life. It is ultimately dull and uneventful. Cenac’s narrator provides his monologue as the movie moves forward, but it feels that he is losing faith, encouraging the audience to do so as well. He attempts to make the audience look for traces of conspiracy around Jacqueline’s life, but everything seems to lead to a dead end.
Eventually, a hint of a possible assassination finally emerges, and the movie seems to become revitalized. Jacqueline finally fulfills her promise and begins disclosing details of the intelligence she claimed to have in the beginning. The duo’s journey to a place where she buried the information is by far the most intense part of the movie. Finally, the plot is not steeped in the trivial daily life of a pretty French woman, but rather some significant event.
Sadly, the building momentum leads nowhere. Again, the movie comes to a loose end when Jacqueline finds that the USB supposed to contain the evidence has been reformatted, and all its contents are gone. Things become even more strange when the crew finds Jacqueline to have disappeared after a night out in local bar. Before the end of the movie, the director relays to the audience that he had one last encounter with Jacqueline. No confrontation or explanation was made. When the credits roll, the audience is left with nothing concrete and an endless amount of questions.
In the end, the film holds no real plot. It has several sidelines and a lot of potential in the characters the crew encounters in La Falda, the small town where Jacqueline hides out, but none of them serve a big enough part in the plot. Each moment disappears with the missing Jacqueline.
The film also has several layers of issues it could have discussed, but ultimately didn’t, like the contents of film and how mainstream media deals with unidentified sources. Sadly, like those characters that linger on the sidelines, the issues become fodder for mumblings of the director and some short one-liners from interviewees.
Other than the French accented, quirky heroine Jacqueline, this mockumentary fails to find its center and voice the story in a comprehensive way.
This film was released on Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2016.