As you can probably tell from the trailer, Lake Tahoe is a strange film: slightly slow moving and enigmatic with quirky characters and what has been described as a “Wellesian Rosebud ending.” It also has relatively plain and clear dialogue, which is a major plus for a Spanish student. So if you are either a fan of the unusual or want to practice your Spanish listening skills, the movie comes recommended by this viewer.
The film begins with a car crash…or at least the sound of one. Young Juan has hit a pole on the outskirts of town. What follows is an extremely usual day. In search of help with the immobile car, he comes across Don Heber’s auto shop (taller). Heber saunters around in slippers and is accompanied by his strange, cereal-eating dog Sica. Heber prefers napping in his hammock to actually helping Juan out, so the young man makes his way to an auto parts store (refaccionaria) and its cashier Lucia, who fancies herself a punk singer and has named her baby Fidel (fist raised) out of that attitude. Next in the cast of characters to be introduced is mechanic/kung-fu aficionado/spiritual guru David, who is more interested in enlightening Juan and befriending him than fixing his car. As Juan’s day progresses, he moves back and forth between these characters in an attempt to control his life and fate. Instead, as the film suggests, he should just accept life for what it is. And we should remember that doesn’t mean it is always a pleasant thing. Life constantly gives and takes away. And I’m not necessarily talking about a child’s sled.
You know how there are those dreams where you need to do something and you just can’t, whether it be because a mountain is in the way, your arm mysteriously stops working, or physics has been turned upside down. That’s essentially Juan’s day and what watching Lake Tahoe is like. And for all that, I think this film is a small jewel.