Isolation and sexual frustration permeate Manuel Nieto Zas's first feature film, The Dog Pound. Set by the Uruguayan seaside in the sleepy resort town of Rocha, Nieto Zas's film describes the difficulties faced by a city kid trying to adapt to a hostile rural environment where he is unwanted and unhappy. The conflicts that so often confront twenty-somethings - their struggles to mature and to make firm decisions about their futures - are embodied by the film's central character. David (newcomer Pablo Riera) is whiling away the summer hours lazily - smoking pot, masturbating, hanging out with the locals and his dogs - in a small town where nothing much ever happens. A surprise visit by his father, Rubén (Martin Adjemián), changes all that, when he arrives to find their summer home in complete disarray. Rubén decides his son needs a work ethic and tells David he can't leave Rocha for university until he builds himself a house on some nearby land. David is a financial hostage, his destiny completely out of his control. He is neither interested in nor capable of realizing this project, and has no idea how to manage the locals he hires to help. Time passes, money runs out, his father leaves for the city and David is left alone with barely the foundation of a house. Nieto Zas portrays Uruguay as a place where life is anything but rushed - on the contrary, people here seem to be in a perpetual state of waiting. The passage of time, the changing of the seasons and the sensation that nothing is happening or progressing are almost stifling at times. The accomplished editing of the film and the shifts in cinematography for different stages of the house's construction help create this pace and climate. The film's beautiful images lend it an air of melancholy and set a meaningful, realist tone. In The Dog Pound, as in life, sometimes meeting the challenge one least wants to face is its own reward.