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White Elephant(Elefante blanco)

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Argentina, Spain, France · 2012
1h 45m
Director Pablo Trapero
Starring Ricardo Darín, Jérémie Renier, Martina Gusman, Federico Benjamín Barga
Genre Drama

Nicolás and Julián are two Catholic priests who join a project to build a hospital for the slums of Buenos Aires. But they soon begin to question whether mission work will truly allow them to protect those in need. Julián turns to politics, while Nicolás turns to Luciana, an attractive social worker — and atheist.

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Variety by

The lensing is flawless in White Elephant, but the same can't be said for the script, which tries to keep too many thematic balls in the air without privileging any one.


The A.V. Club by Sam Adams

It’s hard to imagine a more potent symbol of good intentions gone to seed than the decrepit Buenos Aires building that gives White Elephant its title.


The Telegraph by Tim Robey

On his broadest canvas yet, Trapero mounts a saga about the role of conscience, which might seem old-fashioned if it weren’t so urgently imagined. An added fillip is Michael Nyman’s stirring score, his best in years.


Total Film by Tom Dawson

Writer/director Trapero arguably crams too much into the film’s running time, but potent turns and Michael Nyman’s yearning score are among the compensations.

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