Carancho.


Ambulance chasing is a term that refers to a lawyer that pursues ambulances to the emergency room of a hospital following an accident with the object of sourcing new clients, a practise that’s prohibited in certain countries. In Argentina, a country where there are some 8000 deaths and 120000 injured in road accidents every year, the practise is called carancho literally ‘vulture’. Based on these statistics a sizable industry has grown up in a country where corruption is a way of life and exploits these incidents for financial gain, involving the victims, their relatives, lawyers, the medical profession and the police all looking for slice of a lucrative monetary pie. 

Director and producer Pablo Trapero (Famila rodante 2004) has used this rather disturbing subject for his latest movie, Carancho (2012). The Secret in Their Eyes (2009) star Ricardo Darin plays the recently expelled lawyer Sosa and Trapero’s wife Martina Gusman take’s the part of thirty something Lujan, a trainee doctor who has recently arrived at the Buenos Aires hospital from the Argentinian provinces who not only gets romantically attached with Sosa but also gets involved with his insurance scams while attempting to keep her drug addiction under control.  Since loosing his licence Sosa has been working as a carancho for a shady company called La Fundacion mediating between road accident victims and insurance companies to extort as much money as possible from both.

Ricardo Darin as Sosa.

 This noir thriller is shot in documentary style, mostly at night, which gives this movie a tough social authenticity. Maybe not a world you would like to inhabit, but a film you should see. It forms part of the resurgence of Argentinian cinema that includes movie like Las Acacias (2011) The Secret in their Eyesthat won the 2010 Oscar for best foreign language film and The Headless Women (2010).  

Martina Gusman as Lujan.