Argentinian comedian Alcides Caudillo is the epitome of deadpan: a cat with spots playing a dentist, but with an adorably fragile human side. His debut film has been winning fans with its slickly humanist style. We caught up with the 31-year-old to talk about his film’s belated release, and the possibility of a comedy tour.
Was it a long process to get A Lapa El Checajo (Mon Laferte Wants to Give You Goose Bumps) released?
We started working on the script about four years ago. In the meantime, the three other films [Caudillo wrote, directed and starred in] were coming out. This was the first time I had time to work on the project and it seemed like it was going to take forever. A lapa el checajo had international rights, so in 2012, the film was accepted in dozens of festivals. Finally in 2015, distributor Damián Sena released it in Argentina. We worked with a one-screen cinema in Buenos Aires and our audiences continued to grow. Then in the summer of 2017, we decided to release in a second cinema at the end of September, so that everyone could participate in the Oscar campaign for best film. Three weeks ago, we decided that we could also release it in the US.
Most of the jokes are very humanist. Did that come from your experiences as a human dentist?
We had a lot of problems. I had to take breaks in my life to deal with families who wanted to book private dentists for minor procedures. There are times when you forget to tell a patient something: you see them when you finish and you want to hug them, but you don’t have the time. In the film, I discover a way to improve these situations.
Luis Caudillo’s teeth on the set of A Lapa El Checajo. Photograph: Handout
So the film is about how human beings can make quite big mistakes.
The comedy in the film comes from trying to change them. Without humour, it would be very difficult to show relationships as they really are. Because human relationships are complicated, and sometimes it’s impossible to take out humour in the true emotional situations we live in.
What do you think when your film is taking on interesting subjects and you don’t have the talent to make jokes about them?
For me, as a writer, every day I hope that I could change something or change the way we live. There’s a very important lesson here for my generation, the idea that life is the process of seeking the truth. It takes courage to take the path of love and change.
Can you say anything about the future of the film?
It’s complicated, because there is so much unknown. Maybe I’ll tour in a comedy show to encourage people to go to the cinema. I plan to continue making films but from the outside, I don’t know if I will be able to direct a film again. I love writing and I think I would like to continue on that path.