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The Old Man Who Read Love Stories

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Original title
The Old Man Who Read Love Stories
Running time
111 min.
Australia Australia
Rolf de Heer (Novel: Luis Sepúlveda)
Graham Tardif
Denis Lenoir
, , , , , , ,
Co-production Australia-Netherland-Spain-France
Drama | Old Age. Nature
Synopsis / Plot
In the town of El Idilio, buried deep in the jungle on the bank of a small Amazon tributary, lives Antonio Bolivar (Richard Dreyfuss). 60-year-old Antonio has lived most of his life in the jungle and knows it intimately. A recluse, this simple man has discovered a quiet passion for romantic tales, which he reads with great appetite. He shares this preoccupation with a local servant girl, Josefina (Cathy Tyson), and together, through their common interest, they are falling in love.

The visiting Dentist (Hugo Weaving), a swaggering lothario with questionable medical skills, becomes Antonio's confidant, procuring romantic novels and encouraging Antonio's advances toward Josefina. But all is not tranquil in this remote, uncivilized corner of the world. Outsiders have intruded, killing a jaguar's cubs and upsetting the fragile balance between man and nature. Now, seeking her revenge, the enraged mother jaguar begins killing humans, apparently at random.

El Idilio's Mayor, (Timothy Spall), known locally as "the Slimy Toad", decides something must be done and organizes a hunting party. Antonio feels he is too old for this ludicrous expedition but privately he knows that he is the only one with the skills to carry out the mission. He has hunted before, many times in his past.

And so begins a trek, an adventure, a dangerous duel. During the hunt, Antonio reviews his life - a deadly snakebite which very nearly cost him his life - his survival thanks to members of an Indian tribe who take him in and make him one of their own - the bond of friendship he develops with the sure-footed and open-hearted tribesman, Nushino (Victor Bottenbley) - Nushino's death, after which Antonio is expelled from the tribe and forced to return to his own people.

All the while, Antonio and the jaguar circle and approach each other with great stealth. The hunt becomes a prism through which Antonio reconciles his past and stares into the face of his own fear. The stakes are raised and the confrontation - single combat between man and animal - will be final.
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