(Chile 2012 75m) Lastarria 90
p Nicolás Ibieta, Guillermo Prieto, Derek Rundell, George Vonknorring d/w Ernesto Díaz Espinoza c Nicolás Ibieta ed Ernesto Díaz Espinoza, Nicolás Ibieta s Rocco
a Fernanda Urrejola, Matías Oviedo, Jorge Alis, Daniel Antivilo, Felipe Avello, Francisco Castillo, Miguel Angel De Luca, Sofía García, Nicolás Ibieta, Mauricio Pesutic, Patricio Pimienta, Francisco Gormaz, Alex Rivera
Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez are major influences to certain modern filmmakers, most of the time the results aren’t exactly likeable, nor even good to watch, but there are sometimes where the reference is maybe it’s only salvation, not because it imitates Tarantino or Rodríguez, but because it takes a similar route as them and makes the references and new ones their own, and thus, it makes it watchable and at times likeable. With all the conversation recently regarding the aesthetics of something called “Vulgar Auterism”, here comes along a movie that has a distinct style inside of its popular genre, and of those popular genres that Ernesto Díaz usually works in, but here comes the shock: he is an auteur, but he’d never be considered a vulgar auteur, and that is because he takes inspiration thematically and aesthetically from other directors that aren’t considered vulgar auteurs (mainly Rodriguez and Tarantino), and that is maybe because they are (somewhat) well regarded among the fans of the genre, while vulgar auterism focuses on maligned directors like those who direct the Fast & Furious movies or the Step Up dance flicks, thus, I have something to say about the whole thing: it seems as if you’re being a contrarian, nothing more, nothing else, I see more an auteur here in Díaz (specially after this film) than in any flash or colours or whatever action flare VA’s see in someone like Justin Lin… will they start considering James Wan (a true true auteur) a Vulgar Auteur now that he will direct the seventh installment of the neverending car-chasing franchise? I hope so, so I can crush them to the ground.
But enough of that silly debate (I’m kinda reactionary to the whole VA thing mainly because they seem so bitter when they get attacked based on facts and criticism, they seem to think that they are right all the time), in the end anyone is free to categorize cinema the way they want, as I’ll categorize this kind of films made in Chile: Not Really Ready For It Yet. Being the first film of the LatinXploitation brand that is starting, the film wants to reference the recent story of latinamerica without really doing so (the dubious name of the MachineGun woman has political resonances but they are never addressed) and featuring a multicultural cast featuring people from Argentina, Chile and other near-ish countries, with its tongue right on cheek the film uses stereotypes of the common life of Chile to advance not on its plot but to augment the humour of the situations in which the films ends up in. The MachineGun Woman, played by Fernanda Urrejola in a very sexy yet un-feminist way, is being looked for by Che Longana, an argentinian who is also controling the mafia through his own locale, he wants her head (of course, look at the title) and asks a bystander DJ of his disco, Santiago, to do it for him before he kills him, just because he was in the mood to do so. Our innocent protagonist then goes through a voyage into the depths of the hell of violence that seems to be under the skin of every city of the world, where he becomes immune to everything around him while he still tries to protects his mother from being killed with him if he fails in his assignment. It is when he starts his mission that the most impressive element of the film comes alive: the camera position while he gets on his car and the way the intertitles are used remind of the videogame series Grand Theft Auto.
Hence, we see our protagonist from a semi-aereal view, following his car from behind while the words (in the correct GTA font) spell out the missions he has to accomplish so he can get to the MachineGun Woman. I laughed a lot when that happened and I was also really impressed because it was one of those “original” elements that I hadn’t seen in a high profile (as much as this one can be) film, where videogames are so integrated to the visual style and to the plot of the film itself (eat your heart out Paul W.S. Anderson). There’s the main strength of the film, that and the performances, and also the way that the Tarantino and Rodriguez influences don’t prevent this from being its own film, it could even become part of another kinda ‘Grindhouse’ (2007) experiment, specially because it has the appropiate length for that. Hey, Ernesto, I have an idea for you. I recommend this film only for fans of his work and for those who don’t look to high up when they are searching for some entertainment at the movies.