It’s difficult to know where to start to tell you about The Last Suit, the latest film from writer/director Pablo Solarz (“The Bottle”, “Minimal Stories”).
Abraham Bursztein, Miguel Angel Sola (“Bajo Bandera”, “Murder In The Senate”), is a tailor, an old man with a bad leg that the doctors want to remove whilst his many daughters want to turf him out of his home and into a retirement home.
Instead of doing any of this, Abraham decides to up sticks and leave and go on a journey from Argentina, across Europe, to Poland to deliver his last suit to a friend who saved his life during the war.
Solarz weaves this gentle, heart-warming story with aplomb, filling it full of touching moments, painful flashbacks, love, heart, the seriousness of the concentration camps and some brilliantly placed light comedy.
The Last Suit hits the mark on all of those points. I laughed, I cried, I winced but most of all I rooted for this, at times, cantankerous old man to reach his destination and deliver his package. It is, in a word, brilliant.
The film revolves around Sola who, through some very clever use of makeup, is old beyond his years. He plays the part with an excellence many actors can only dream of; the subtle movements, facial expressions, the cheeky smile, Sola delivers them all and delivers them brilliantly.
He’s not entirely alone though. There are the many daughters, though their characters are fleeting, it’s the four people Bursztein meets on his journey that also light up this wonderful film.
Firstly he meets Leo, Martin Piroyansky (“The Vampire Spider”, “XXY”), a young-man on the flight from Argentina to Madrid whom Bursztein bugs and bugs and bugs whilst he’s trying to read a magazine, resulting in Leo getting up and moving seats, leaving Bursztein able to lay down across them all and sleep.
As Madrid custom officials take exception to both men being in their country, Leo as he’s there illegally and Bursztein because they find his story weird, Burzstein helps out the young-man and Leo offers his help.
He takes him to a hostel where he meets owner Maria, Angela Molina (“Broken Embraces”, “Live Flesh”), a strong-willed woman who won’t take any of his shtick, giving as good as she gets. The two bounce off each other wonderfully, falling instantly at ease with each other whilst keeping their guards up.
On the train journey from France to Poland, Bursztein meets Ingrid, Julia Beerhold (“Tomo”, “Emma’s Bliss”), a German who speaks both Yiddish and Spanish. As Bursztein doesn’t speak French she is the only person he can speak to, but refuses when finding out her nationality. Despite this snub, Ingrid will not give in and eventually gets to the old mans heart.
Next up, after collapsing on the train from France to Poland, Bursztein is taken in by a nurse at the hospital, Natalie Verbeke (“Son Of The Bride”, “Doctor Mateo (TV)”), who agrees to take him to Lodz to find his friend.
This epic journey, broken down by these encounters and the mini-stories each contains, is a delight to be a part of. In many ways it represents the very journey Bursztein would have had to make going in the other direction to make a new life for himself in Argentina and, perhaps, the journeys many Jews took to flee Nazi Germany.
Despite Bursztein’s deteriorating health, he refuses to give in and Solarz gives us glimpses of his past, in the form of flashbacks, that don’t give anything away, in fact only add to the intrigue, until Bursztein is ready, in his own time, to finally tell us his story.
The Last Suit is an absolute delight of a film that I thoroughly recommend you do everything in your powers to see.
Also published on Medium.