Culture, Globe, Listings, Screen, United Kingdom

“Truco in London”: identity and migration

Short stories aiming to evoke a sense of loneliness and forgetting bring this documentary to life, produced by a group of Argentines resident in London.  Thanks to the popular card game “truco”, these Argentines meet up and feel like they are home again.  Here they explain this adventure. Film release: 22 of February.


truco4Immigrant communities have a wide variety of motives and means for getting together when they are far from their homeland.

There are those that get together to watch or play football, others to eat the traditional food from their country, and those who get together to dance and listen to music that takes them back to their roots.

But in West London, there are several Argentines that meet to play truco, a game using Spanish playing cards that is popular in Uruguay, Brazil and Chile.

These men and women of different ages get together to play, and call themselves the “truqueros (truco players) of the west”.

Argentines from different cities come to Chaucer Avenue to sit at tables of 4 or 6 people. Clearly, truco is no more than an excuse to feel at home, and of course, the game is accompanied by typical Argentine food.

truco3Andres Tacsir is 41, an economist who has been working in London for just over a decade. Tomas Rosenbaum is a surgeon who arrived in the 70s and lends out his home every time there is a get together. Fraser McGruer is English, married to a Brazilian and works in the audiovisual industry.

Together, they decided to commemorate these meetings in “Truco in London”, a 13 minute long documentary made with no budget, but a substantial technical invoice.

The footage was made between the end of 2015 and the beginning of 2016.

“We felt that we had to portray an event that takes place on a continual basis. It’s something that may be forgotten, a way of connecting with Argentina”, explains Tacsir, one of the three producers. He adds, “It’s a group of around 100 people, though normally 20 or 30 show up.”

Andres Tacsir

All of them are residents in London and through the documentary, they have found the perfect way to share. The documentary tells the story of a group of Argentines that play truco in London.

Through the documentary, they tell their stories about migration. Truco is a way of telling the lives of 5 or 6 people in the city. “They are stories about being Argentine, about identity and migration”, Tacsir explains.

In an effort to get to know each of their characters, the camera follows one of them on the underground in Hammersmith, another having breakfast with his daughter, another saying goodbye to his dogs, and an Argentine woman that drives her car to play truco.

The producers summarise it in this way; “We went along finding people that had different voices but that were singing the same song”.

With the end result in their hands, the producers’ aim is to send the footage to different festivals.

truco2The first decent response came from the Argentine Embassy in the U.K., which decided to organise an event for the group of truco players and other resident Argentines.

Tacsir concludes, “Such are the stories of immigrants. They are nostalgic stories, about the present, but also about the future”.

Film release: Wednesday 22 of February, 6:00 pm. he Embassy of Argentina in London. 65 Brook St, London W1K 4A.

Photos: Truco in London   –   (Translated by Lucy Daghorn)

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