It’s a semi-well known fact that Argentina has often been a place for people around the world to escape from their former lives. Whether it be Leon Trotsky hiding out from Stalin, or Jewish celebrities, scientists, and regular people escaping the Nazis during WWII. Argentina’s history is enmeshed with many different cultures and has a distinct European influence as opposed some other countries in South America
In Pablo Solarz’ incredibly brilliant film El ultimo traje (also known by its American title The Last Suit), we explore the life of one such Jewish immigrant who lived most of his life in Argentina but was actually born in Poland. We meet Abraham Bursztein (Miguel Angel Sola) on the eve of his last day in his home, as his daughters are shipping him off to a nursing home, where among other things, they may very well amputate his leg.
Abraham tells his family that he’s tired and he wants one more night to say goodbye to the house, but once his family leaves, he packs a bag and heads to a travel agency run by his friend’s granddaughter. He asks her to arrange a trip for him to go to Lodz, Poland. His plan, as we find out over the course of The Last Suit is to find the man, Piotrek, who rescued him and nursed him back to health when Abraham escaped an extermination camp. He wants to give him the last suit he ever made. What follows is a hilarious yet heartwrenching adventure across Europe with a cantankerous old man on a mission.
“…to find the man who rescued him and nursed him back to health when he escaped an extermination camp.”
I was spellbound by Miguel Angel Sola. He portrayed an incredibly complex character who is at times sympathetic and at others; stubborn, rude, and even xenophobic. He goes out of his way to make sure that he never sets foot in Germany on his way to Poland, because that is how much he hates Germany and Germans because of what happened to him as a teenager. He is helped in this task by a German woman, Ingrid (Julia Beerhold), an anthropologist who lets him walk on her clothes to avoid stepping on German ground. He ends up forgiving Germany through her when he sets his feet on the concrete of the train station which has the recurring announcement of “Sorry for the inconvenience, we are under reconstruction.”
We also revisit Abraham’s childhood, both the good times, and the terrible, and we find out why it’s so important for him to get his last suit to Piotrek. We understand his personality more and more as aspects of his past are revealed.
There are so many wonderful, well-crafted scenes in The Last Suit. Pablo Solarz’ script is a multilayered masterpiece. In his sophomore feature film, he has definitely hit his stride and I can only hope that he continues to make such inspiring, funny, and heartfelt films going forward.
The Last Suit written and directed by Pablo Solarz. Starring Miguel Angel Sola, Angela Molina, Martin Piroyansky, Natalia Verbeke, Julia Beerhold, Olga Boladz, Jan Mayzel.
10 out of 10 stars