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Nine Queens 2000

Nine Queens | 9 Queens | Nueve Reinas

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If you think you've got it figured out... You've been conned.

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About the Nine Queens 💬

  • Trust. Betrayal. Reality. Illusion. Loyalty. Deception.

Set in Buenos Aires over the course of 24 hours, NINE QUEENS is the story of two small-time swindlers, Juan (Gastón Pauls) and Marcos (Ricardo Darín), who team up after meeting in a convenience store and become involved in a half-million-dollar deal. Remade in Hollywood as Criminal (2004), Bielinsky's original remains a landmark in recent Latin American cinema.

They are masters of manipulation. Experts in appearing to be what they're not. In the next 24 hours to steal a fortune, they will create a world more convincing than reality. But every step they take will lead them deeper into their own lie.

  • Seeing is believing. Seeing is deceiving.

Early one morning, Marcos observes Juan successfully pulling off a bill-changing scam on a cashier, and then getting caught as he attempts to pull the same trick on the next shift. Marcos steps in, claiming to be a policeman, and drags Juan out of the store. Once they are back on the street, Marcos reveals himself to be a fellow swindler with a much higher stakes game in mind, and invites Juan to be his partner in crime.

Juan is skeptical at first, but agrees to work with Marcos after he impresses him with a few sophisticated cons. A once-in-a-lifetime scheme then seemingly falls into their laps - an old-time con man enlists Juan and Marcos to sell a forged set of extremely valuable rare stamps, The Nine Queens. The tricky negotiations that ensue bring into the picture a cast of suspicious characters including Marcos' beautiful sister Valeria (Leticia Brédice), their innocent younger brother Federico (Tomás Fonzi) who idolizes Marcos, and a slew of thieves, con men, and pickpockets.

As the deceptions and duplicity mount, it becomes more and more difficult to figure out who is conning whom, and we begin to ask ourselves, ''Who isn't a thief?''


Q: Can you talk a little about your influences?

Fabián Bielinsky: I've always felt a particular predilection for narrative cinema, that's strongly based in the story being told. I don't believe that it is the only way to approach a film but, without a doubt, it is the approach that always gives me the most pleasure. Ford, Hawks, Wilder, Hitchcock are some of the many directors that fascinate me as a viewer, that give life to this pleasure. It was my intent to recreate that sensation in my first experience as a director. Pleasure is a good place to start when making a film.

Q: Can you discuss your writing process on this film? Is it difficult to create suspense?

Fabián Bielinsky: I have never approached scriptwriting with a definitive idea or a specific genre in mind. I did not decide if it would be about suspense, or comedy, or politics beforehand. I was interested in the setting, the characters, and the lie as a way of relating. Everything else came from the writing process itself, from the story's own development. A story about swindlers generates tension on its own, which has more to do with the activity itself, than with intending to create suspense.

Q: How do you go about setting traps for your characters and for your audience?

Fabián Bielinsky: I like to use the manipulation of the audience as a way of creating a connection with them. And judging by the reaction to NINE QUEENS, the public seems to like it as well. Nevertheless, I don't believe that manipulation is the only tool that a director has, and I am anxious to explore new ways of connecting with the audience, that perhaps don't depend so much on surprise.

Q: How did you research the world you wrote about? Where did the idea for NINE QUEENS come from?

Fabián Bielinsky: I have been interested in the idea of the street swindler my whole life. The idea of delinquents that, instead of using weapons, use their ingenuity and subtle psychological mechanisms to get over on their victims - it always seemed to me to be an extraordinary space within which to tell a story. I sifted through a lot of material before I decided to write the script but, when I began the definitive research, the surprise was that most of the information came from the victims. Everyone had something to tell me - almost everyone had in his or her experience (or in that of their friends or relatives) an anecdote or story in which someone attempted to swindle them. I held onto all of that material, and it was a great help in developing the story.

Q: If this film were staged in the United States, it would probably have guns, car crashes, and explosions. You managed to create a gripping story without using any of those devices. Was that intentional?

Fabián Bielinsky: This goes back to the same idea of the swindler who operates without violence (using psychological violence, but not physical). The absence of explosions and crashes wasn't intentional, but it wasn't necessary to connect the viewer with the story or to generate a strong rhythm of narration. To add those elements would have been artificial, and luckily it wasn't necessary.

Q: Why did you choose these actors for the film?

Fabián Bielinsky: Because they have the basic energy of the characters they play. I find it very difficult to give direction to an actor if they don't have a basic connection, however subtle, with their character - and I believe this is the case with the principal protagonists in NINE QUEENS.

Q: Do you see this film as purely entertainment or, are you making some sort of social commentary about your country or about the world?

Fabián Bielinsky: Those two things are mixed. I knew that above all in my country, people were going to read the film as a commentary about the current social climate in which we are living. I always thought that the film, as a whole, reflected the animosity of people: the idea that we sometimes have that everything is a lie, that there is only corruption, that the law is every man for himself. But I always held clear that my priority was to tell a story, in the most agile, ingenious, entertaining way possible - and to arrive at something that the audience would take pleasure in watching. The best of all is that both intentions were clear to Argentinean audiences - which they have thanked me for by being able to enjoy themselves while looking at a mirror in which they see themselves reflected.

Nine Queens Movie Details 🎥

Directed by

Fabián Bielinsky

Writing Credits

Fabián Bielinsky


Ricardo Darín

Gastón Pauls

Leticia Brédice

Tomás Fonzi

Elsa Berenguer

Celia Juárez

Antonio Ugo

Alejandro Awada

Ignasi Abadal

Oscar Nuñez

Music by

César Lerner

Cinematography by

Marcelo Camorino

Genres: Crime, Drama, Thriller

Country: Argentina

Nine Queens Trailer

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