Fever Dream / Distancia de rescate (dir. Claudia Llosa, 2021) – Amanda lies in pain as she is questioned about what had happened to her – by a young child who is not her own.
Amanda (María Valverde) keeps her daughter Nina at a safe rescue distance, protective of her only child. Carola (Dolores Fonzi) doesn’t share the same love for hers, whom she had almost lost to poisoned water once. Not anymore. Her boy David had only survived because of a spirtual healer, but at the cost of part of his soul, or so she claims.
Before its filmic adaptation, Samanta Schweblin’s Fever Dream was once a book that begs to be read. Unlike a standard narrative, the story unfolds in nothing beyond a seamless conversation between a woman and a boy, who bear no direct relations as one might think. What ties them together is their bonds with their families that were similarly severed by circumstance.
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Aterrados (dir. Demián Rugna, 2017) – Strange events occur in a neighbourhood in Buenos Aires, leading to suspicions of the paranormal.
Light on answers but heavy on tension, Aterrados presents some tautly strung scenes of terror that successfully conjure the fear of the dark.
Not many can leave a screening of Aterrados without realising their fear of the dark, and of things that go bump in the night. The paranormal takes on a thickened sheen of terror through the lens of director Demián Rugna, whose survey of the genre has paid off in full.
The tense opening makes clear that the title is its intent. A terrified Clara (Natalia Señoriales) tells her husband Juan (Agustín Rittano) about the threatening voices she hears, coming from the kitchen pipes.
He dismisses her, but soon hears knocking against the walls himself that very night. The sceptic in him would have blamed it on the neighbour. Only that the latter is away, and the noise seems to be coming from inside the house.
Continue reading “Movie Review: Aterrados / Terrified (2017)”
Rooster’s Blood / La Sangre del Gallo (dir. Mariano Dawidson, 2015) – Beaten and bloodied, Damian is unable to remember how he got there, or why.
This moody kidnap thriller is as much an engaging mystery as it is, visual panache.
If you have a thing for gritty thrillers from the independent scene, La Sangre del Gallo will be right up your seedy alley. A promising directorial debut by Mariano Dawidson, the Argentinian film foregrounds the dark brutality of criminal underworld, uncompromising in its show of violence from the get-go.
The opening introduces Damian (Santiago Pedrero) in a bad place, captive and bloodied during an iron-fisted interrogation. Questions and punches rain without relent. Still, his past remains a blur. As he struggles to recall painful memories, the age-old narrative device of flashbacks serves well to unravel the mystery at hand.
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Time Sweep / Tiempo muerto (dir. Victor Postiglione, 2016) – After the death of his wife Julia, Franco finds a dangerous way to bring her back.
An understated and evocative drama, on life after death in more ways than one.
Franco (Guillermo Pfening) has just lost his wife Julia (Maria Nela Sinisterra) to a sudden accident. The heartbroken widower will do anything to bring her back. In Julia’s diary, he finds an unorthodox way in the mysterious phenomenon, “tiempo muerto”. Known as a dead moment, this is when he gets to meet his love for the last time – in a memory of the past.
From Argentinian director Victor Postiglione, Tiempo muerto is a lean and well-paced independent drama with minimal excess. Sans the usual time travel theatrics, the taut thriller relies in verism and leaves fantasy to the fringes. The result is a character-driven dramatic core, veracity cemented by brilliant central performances.
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Resurrection / Resurrección (dir. Gonzalo Calzada, 2016) – A young priest returns home to help the sick during the 1871 yellow fever epidemic.
Argentinian horror Resurrection makes a nightmarish impression and delivers shivers with atmospheric dread, though some may find its pace crawling.
Young priest Aparicio (Martin Slipak) returns to his home during a plague, only to find the estate abandoned and his family consumed by madness. His afflicted brother is on his deathbed, his sister-in-law speaks of the devil’s curse, and his niece is locked in behind chapel doors.
When the ostensible contagion unveils its darker leanings, Aparicio struggles to keep his faith. But the occult and family secrets become the least of his worries soon as he starts to ail.
A 19th century backdrop lends Resurrection a portentous setting, smothered in fog and shadows in Gothic horror tradition. Speculations surround the lone surviving and duplicitous servant Quispe (Patricio Conteras), who keeps up the air of mystery in what could have been a trite supernatural tale.
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