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Truco (‘Trickery’) is a card game played by Argentinians.
You lie and cheat to deceive your opponents.
This film follows a group of Argentinians living in London as they play the game.
As exiles or immigrants, we see how this distinctively Argentinean game is a crucible through which – for a few hours each month – they can become Argentinian again, they construct an Argentinian oasis.
To quote one of the participants: ‘Truco is a wonderful, playful kind of therapy, in which we can find our identity in a fun way.’ Or, as another puts it, ‘By getting together here, we somehow try to bring back the space we left behind…to re-create a small part of Buenos Aires here in London.’ Beyond this, the film prompts certain questions about identity; in what sense are these people Argentinian? Is identity constructed? In a way, the game of Truco is a leveler – we can all be Argentinian together – but, actually, these individuals each have a different relationship with that identity.
Some (most?) are second or third generation Argentineans and so their parents or grandparents would not have identified themselves as Argentinian.
Similarly (but conversely?), some have children who would not identify themselves as Argentinean, but as English.
Some have been in the UK for over half their lives, others for only a few years.
Some were forced to leave, some chose to leave.
They are old and young, male and female.
Some will return to live in Argentina soon, others will never return, not event to visit.
So, in this sense Truco actually offers what is an illusion of unified identity.
It’s also about hidden communities.
This looks, from the outside, like a normal suburban London house; who would guess that there is this slightly odd community of people that gathers there once a month to run through these rituals? On the flip side, when these people are out and about living their daily lives, they do not – especially in a cosmopolitan, multicultural city like London – appear particularly different or special.
Even amongst colleagues or neighbours, their foreignness does not stand out particularly.
Indeed, even for themselves they do not normally feel especially Argentinean – it is mainly when they travel to this in-between space that they feel Argentinian.