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Argentine director Juan Carlos Desanzo offers a grim variation on the classic tale of Oliver Twist with this gritty tale of a young orphan who falls in with a decidedly undesirable crowd. A resourceful street kid who earns his keep as a subway busker after fleeing from his abusive parents, the young runaway is soon bestowed with the moniker of El Polaquito due to his faithful renditions of the popular Polish tango singer's enduring ballads.
Despite his rebellious nature and distaste for authority figures, El Polaquito soon finds employment with the shady Rengo - a thuggish criminal who employs a variety of child prostitutes, beggars, and thieves.
Though he would like nothing more than to break free from Rengo's suffocating grip, El Polaquito finds his options frustratingly limited due to the fact that both his sister and the object of his affections are also employed by Rengo.
Now, as he makes a valiant effort to break away and take along the two people he cares about most, El Polaquito is about to discover if he truly has what it takes to survive in an uncaring society in which the death of a common street child is a casual, everyday occurrence.