Argentinian Cinema 2013 #2: El día trajo la oscuridad (2013)

(Argentina 2013 78m) Village Recoleta

Pepe Salvia, Laura Mara Tablón d Martín De Salvo w Josefina Trotta c Nicolás Trovato ed Andrés Tambornino s Jorge Chikiar

a Mora Recalde, Romina Paula, Luciano Suardi, Pablo Caramelo, Marta Lubos

3rd of BAFICI – April 13th, the second film seen as part of the ‘press’ screenings in the morning, this is part of the competition of ‘Genre and Avant Garde’ where art and horror mixes up.

The clearest and most blatant influence in this film is the one of the swedish film ‘Let the Right One In’ (2008), where the stilization and the care for the cinematography of the images put on screen was equally important to the horror and the bleakness of the situations presented, and while following the same genre and supernatural creatures as the swedish film, this film from Argentina manages to create its own world and set of rules, and at the same time using certain clichés that end up damaging it more than benefiting its stay in the mind of the viewer. It’s hard to remember after you’ve seen it, and it’s because while visually impressive and thematically original for the national market, this film just goes into a road that’s been traveled way too much in the past years and specially in the indie horror circuit: the issue of horror and sexuality, and in particular the homoerotic sexuality as a consequence or theme behind the horror. While I don’t expect guts and blood, I do expect that at least the director has a sense that he may be doing something original here due to the level of technicals, acting and themes presented, but finally it would just as well play in a genre festival as well as one for the LGBT community, and I don’t know if that’s what’s really behind the making of this or maybe it was just a ‘stab’ at profundity that failed at some point.

But, well, by the tone I started this conversation it seems that I completely disliked this film, but the real thing is that the contrary happened, I felt invested in the cinematography, the visual language, the sequences, the scenes that were playing, it was just one particular element and one scene who managed to dethrone this movie from my total admiration, giving me the chance to only shower them with a little amount of praise for the things that they did manage to get incredibly right, like the acting, as mentioned before, from all the players, specially the two leading ladies (Romina Paula may be the next Rooney Mara or Leticia Dolera, whichever you prefer); the cinematography is easily the most impressive thing that managed to create and formulate this movie, with a particular detail and beauty in the night shoots that is almost unconceivable for a latinamerican product, and more akin to a well made thriller from Sweden or the United States. The plot manages to keep you guessing here and there until the images and the plot becomes too obvious for us to care about the mystery of the real happenings sorrounding these two female cousins who decide to live together for a little while in our protagonist’s house, as the invitee’s sister is really ill, she wanted some fresh air so she decided to stay there in the countryside. Strange things start happening: first, premonitory dreams, then, the dissapearance of the guest and her reappearence deep in the woods, the apparition of dead blood-less animals, the news of a epidemy of ‘rabies’ in the main cities of Argentina; and while we don’t get an answer from all of them, we do get enough information to make our own choices.

Still, it’s a genre picture, more related to genre in the sense of the female genre than in the one of horror genre, mainly because it’s a movie were two protagonists are women, and they have some sort of deliberation and comment on their place and position inside a community, inside a family and between them, it’s the issue about the homosexuality that it’s over played in the art-horror genre and it makes me a little bit sad to see it played so heavily here. It’s still interesting to see a movie like this playing at one of the most important cinema festivals of the world, and still gather some praise and good criticism: it has the suspense and the final scenes are suspenseful and maintain you at the edge of your seat, so by all means I think that if you’re able to go beyond the blood and guts and can stand a bit of reflection and suspense in your supernatural horror, this is the movie for you. The rest may want to stay away, I can see a divisiveness in its making and showing that would make it complicated for those not used or suited for the material.

7/10

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