Chilean Cinema 2012 #14: Aquí Estoy, Aquí No (2012)

(Chile 2012 96m) Cine Arte Alameda

p Florencia Larrea d/w/ed Elisa Eliash c Florencia Larrea s Valeria Jara, Marcos Meza, Cómo Asesinar a Felipes, Makaroni

a Juan Pablo Correa, María José Siebald, Alessandra Guerzoni, Constanza González, Jorge Rodríguez, Constanza Alemparte, Elvis Fuentes, Carla Casali, Vicente Araya, Víctor Montero, Marcelo Pertier, Valeria Jara, Hugo Eliash, Fernando Alarcón, José Martínez

Hitchcock’s ‘Vertigo’ (1958) has inspired literally hundreds of filmmakers. The most classic, and for most the oldest example, was the short near-masterpiece that is ‘La jeteé’ (1962), directed by the recently deceased french master Chris Marker, as he was inspired by one of the most beautiful scenes of the classic Hitchcock film (the one with the tree bark and the years printed over it) as inspiration for a short film about past times, time travel and love, one of those that needs to be seen to be believed, specially when you think about how influential it was at the time and how it gave us ‘Twelve Monkeys’ (1995), one of the best time travel films of all time, as well as one of the best movies directed by the master of the weirdness that is Terry Gilliam. Here comes along a film that doesn’t take just one single scene, but takes the whole plot and concept of ‘Vertigo’ and turns it into its own kind of story, making several references to the plot and images of the new best film of all time according to the Sight & Sound Poll of 2012. While not being as great as any of the other two films mentioned, it stands on its own as an example of how far an independent and almost underground/art/experimental feature length film can go in a country where getting your film done in the first place is so hard. How many years have been gone making this film? I’m not sure, but I beat that it was over two years of piecing it together, not counting the nine months of shooting that took place, according to the director, without any pay given to those who participated. But it doesn’t matter, the results are there, and Elisa Eliash must be proud of them, she has a film that can join the list of clever films about films out there… or films who love Hitchcock’s film being more specific.

The film is structured in a thematical way, similarly to what ‘Vertigo’ was in its own time frame and way of presenting facts. We see our protagonist, a fat journalist, riding in a taxi, drunk, and talking to his best friend, telling him jokes that will be repeated later in the film. Suddenly, the taxi crashes, the friend dies and our protagonist, survives, but with an enormous trauma, he can’t ride in a car because he is afraid, and so this character’s own fear is created in the same way the one in ‘Vertigo’ was, with the death of James Stewart’s character’s friend. Then we jump a few months or years or days (I’m not entirely sure here) and we see the daily life of this fat guy, who survives writing here and there in some newspapers and teaching journalism classes in a private university. There, an assignment is encountered, he has to investigate an underground female rock artist that has had its day of fame: she is blonde. Through a series of infortunate events, we find out that our protagonist spent a lot of time with her finding out her entire story until one night, where he left her alone (she was riding a car, thus, he couldn’t make it) and so she kills herself by crashing her car. Since this is a classic and great movie, we see a woman that is just like her but with dark black hair, which are the odds?

The film is an experiment in many ways. It has fantasy and reality mixing and blending with each other, with narrations over narrations over narrations that try to tell the story we don’t know yet, but never getting to the point of it, meandering around, a quality of the protagonist that due to his trauma and his own ways of shading his activities, we’re never sure of what he does and what he is thinking, but the filmmaking is trying to approach us to that difficult mind, with characters that appear out of nowhere, connecting narrative points, repeating dialogues and jokes, inserting nods to the fact that this is a movie and not much else, and maybe one of the best nods to ‘Vertigo’ in the history of the films that have been considered in some way related to it: the black haired girl that appears out of nowhere and that looks a lot like the blonde rock star, is also an archery instructor, and you know how the marks (where the arrows are supposed to hit) look like, and as the arrows appear on it, we are reminded of the tree scene in the original film and how the chronology of life and death is being constantly confused in a status of transe that we aren’t understanding until much. much later. In this film, we have no explanation, but we don’t care, we lived in our protagonist’s mind for a while. That is a feat in itself.

8/10

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