Communication and character change in Un cuento chino | Intellect Skip to content
Volume 10, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 2050-4837
  • E-ISSN: 2050-4845



In Un cuento chino/Chinese Take-Out (Borensztein, 2011), the protagonist, Roberto, is a misanthropic character who unexpectedly has an encounter with the Other: Jun, a Chinese immigrant who enters his life. Unlike other migration films, the emphasis here is on the Argentine protagonist. Communication is a key theme on multiple levels, and the interaction between Roberto and Jun results in transculturation. The lack of subtitles for the Chinese immigrant means that both the Argentine characters and the audience have to understand his non-verbal communication. Roberto and his friend Mari also use this type of communication with Jun and between themselves. Non-verbal communication theories (kinesics, vocalics, oculesics, proxemics and haptics) give us deeper insights into how this communication functions. Besides the gestures, body movement, eye behaviour and voice behaviour, two other non-verbal forms of communication with connotative meaning – photography and painting – are crucial to the film. The polysemic image of the cow initially represents death for Jun, but then life and love for both him and Roberto. Ultimately, this intercultural encounter causes Roberto to undergo a change in character. Communication, intercultural and otherwise, turns out to be the key to happiness.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...
This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a success
Invalid data
An error occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error