(Chile, Italy, Germany, Spain 2013 94m) Village Recoleta
p Bruno Bettati, Christoph Friedel, Mario Mazzarotto, Emanuele Nespeca, Luis Ángel Ramírez, Claudia Steffen, Álvaro Donoso d Alicia Scherson w Alicia Scherson, Roberto Bolaño c Ricardo DeAngelis s Caroline Chaspoul, Eduardo Henríquez
a Manuela Martelli, Luigi Ciardo, Rutger Hauer, Nicolas Vaporidis, Alessandro Giallocosta, Pino Calabrese, Sara Manni
This chilean-italian-german co-production played at Sundance and got a nice share of good reviews, even achieving some deals for an international release in Europe and the United States, it was an out and all success for one of the most famous and critically acclaimed female directors in Chile, Alicia Scherson, whose other films like ‘Play’ (2005) and ‘Turistas’ (2009) were also acclaimed in festivals from around the world, achieving it through a minimalistic approach towards its situations and female centered human relations of films. Here she continues the exploration of the female persona sorrounded by the male gaze, how the protagonist is inserted into a strange yet at the same time familiar world that is constantly shifting either due to the characters that she meets or the events that go around her. Alicia Scherson has managed to become a distinguished auteur and there’s no wonder that the doubt from the international investors was minimal when it came to support what would be the first adaptation of the written word of the chilean born writer Roberto Bolaño to the big screen, using one of his minor works, here the film manages to become large due to the way in which the female body and power of its protagonist (Bianca) manages to change and move the things around her, only using the elements of her own sexual desire and skill, as well as her will to overcome those who try to put her foot over her choices or ways of seeing the world and relations.
Based on the novel ‘Una novelita lumpen’ by Roberto Bolaño, this movie follows two brothers (Bianca and Tomas) whose parents (chilean descendants living in Rome) just died in a fatal car accident, and how their life quickly starts to become more and more otherworldly, as they start to confront how they’ll survive alone, specially when it seems that the light of day that sorrounds them seems brighter and even shines when it’s dark. They also start to grow up and mature, sorrounded by the modern life of Italy, where she starts to think of working on something to sustain them and her brother starts to work at a local gym and move around with the wrong kind of folk: criminal jocks that just want to take every oportunity available to get easy money. Those jocks slowly but surely start to invade the apartment in which Bianca and her brother live in, and they slowly start to control the life and the direction in which they seem to live their lives, until the opportunity appears: they tell Bianca about an old retired actor, Maciste, who lives in Rome and has a treasure… she might be able to retrieve it as he is blind, and may use her visits as a prostitute as a way to inspect the mansion in which he lives. But at the same time she can’t avoid the fact that while she has been exploring her body in the sexual and living ways, she also at the same time can’t avoid starting feeling some things regarding the people she touches, specially regarding her ultimate goal.
This is among my favorite films of the year, and it’s a true discovery to find the powerful performances and the amazing cinematography present in the whole film, specially coming from Manuela Martelli, an actress that I’ve never been fond of in her entire career (either in cinema or out of it), and the presence of Rutger Hauer in the cast just make it steller, as if this was (and at some times it feels like) a super blockbuster production. It’s always entertaining and mesmerizing to watch, and when the plot finally goes towards its final stretch, it’s finally emotional and incredible, this is one of the chilean films to look to when we are watching what we actually do and how we can do it to give a better image of our directors and actors, and while the whole film is spoken in italian and only about 3 minutes of the film were actually shot on Chile, you can feel the presence and the strength of a new generation of directors who want the best… this is among the best examples of the year so far.