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The Delay

La demora

A single mother finds it increasingly difficult to take care of her ageing father and three children in this compassionate, impressively performed feature from Rodrigo Plá.

Even if a screening is sold out, tickets are often available 30 minutes before the start of the film at the box office at each venue.

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  • Director Rodrigo Plá
  • Producer Christian Valdelièvre, Sandino Saravia Vinay, Rodrigo Plá
  • Screenwriter Laura Santullo
  • With Roxana Blanco, Carlos Vallarino
  • Mexico-Uruguay-France 2012
  • 84 mins
  • Sales Memento Films International

Agustín is suffering from dementia and arthritis, and frequently gets lost when out and about. His daughter María, a single mother, struggles to take care of him and her three children on her meagre salary as a seamstress. Close to breaking point and unable to get help from the authorities, she opts for a radical course of action that comes to impact on the whole family. For his third feature, Rodrigo Plá moves away from the Mexican locations of The Zone and The Desert Within (LFF 2007 & 2008) to his native Uruguay, crafting a character-driven work of unusual humanity and compassion. Carlos Vallarino excels as the feeble, frightened Agustín while Roxana Blanco quietly captures María’s sense of escalating desperation. María Secco’s austere cinematography paints a grey, sombre world where the devastation of poverty is all too visible. The result is a profoundly moving film about vulnerable individuals pushed into difficult decisions.
Maria Delgado

Filmmaker statement

We sought to build the story with small gestures, focused on the relationship between the two main characters and the way each of them experiences their circumstances. The daughter is a person overwhelmed by her single-mother situation while the father is a man confused and dwarfed by the limitations of old age. The interaction between these two crisis-ridden realities will gradually wear down their relationship, like the gear wheel in a machine that loses parts and starts to malfunction until it eventually breaks down. The plot revolves around the fault, around the emotional dysfunction and its bursting. We were especially interested in exploring in depth that unexpected burst in the life of an ordinary character, wondering how that cruel reality arises, almost foreign to the character’s mind, and bypasses his sanity. We felt that to tell such a story we needed a narrative different from the one we had used before. The result is the tale of an accident of sorts, but one that takes place in the field of emotions. Naturally, as this ‘emotional accident’ is an internal event of the character, there are previous signals that can be traced once the crisis has occurred, but we tried not to emphasise the factors that trigger the explosion. We tried to devise the plot not by analysing events that have already taken place but instead by covering the process as it unfolds, without giving away information in advance. We attempted to build a story without overloading it with emotions, but not abandoning the intention of making The Delay a moving film and to present a personal gaze about the arrival of old age.
Laura Santullo & Rodrigo Plá

Director biography

Born in Montevideo, Uruguay in 1968, he has long lived in Mexico. He studied successively at the Escuela Activa de Fotografia y Video and – on a script and direction course – at the Centro de Capacitation Cinematográfica, and continued to make shorts (winning a Student Oscar for El ojo en la nuca, which starred Gael García Bernal) as well as working as an assistant director. The Desert Within was started in 2006 as his first feature, but post-production delays meant that The Zone actually appeared first: both films playing the LFF in 2007 and 2008 after The Zone had won the Lion of the Future award at Venice. Plá’s contribution to the Mexican portmanteau film Revolución was also LFF-screened in 2010.


1988 Moira [s]
1995 Novia mía (The Bride) [s]
2000 El ojo en la nuca [s]
2007 La zona (The Zone)
2008 Desierto adentro (The Desert Within)
2010 Revolución [ep 30/30 only]
2012 La demora (The Delay)

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