A man goes to collect some clothes from the dry-cleaner’s, has his dog put down, returns home and kills himself. The beautiful black and white of José Luis Valle’s second feature makes this gesture all the harsher as his wife, on returning home, talks to dead man as if he were in the next room. “I’m on the patio” as the note says, “I didn’t want to make a mess”. Dry and almost monochromatic, The Searches shares the poignant and absurd concern of the prematurely deceased character: what can be left off-screen must be done so. But it also shows that loss inevitably – and fortunately – creates movement, the “search” of the title. The simplicity of the storyline and images or the predilection for long takes never creates the impression of an artsy pose. It is this very guilelessness that lends a touching note to the encounter between the widow, Elvira, and the bottled-water deliveryman. One gesture from Elvira is enough to translate the intensity of her desire, as well as the risk that she could dismiss it too quickly. With its preference for restraint, The Searches takes the opposite stance to the grandiloquent violence of Carlos Reygadas and his many Mexican epigones.