Chicuarotes (dir. Gael García Bernal, 2019) – In a bid to escape poverty, two youths become involved in increasingly dangerous crimes.
Aboard a public bus, Cagalera (Benny Emmanuel) and Moloteco (Gabriel Carbajal) launch into an unsolicited comedy show, putting forth their best face paint and puns. “We would rather do this than to be criminals or thugs,” the teenagers proclaim.
But when their act fail to make a cent from their indifferent audience, they instantly give up their idea of an honest living. Turning to the alternative they had denounced only seconds ago, they rob the now rapt passengers at gunpoint.
The excellent opening scene in Chicuarotes makes it clear that the pair’s petty crimes are destined to escalate in severity and not wit, out of their desperation to leave the poorer suburbs. There would be no lavish scheme for their attempt to graduate from rags to riches, only the thoughtless ploys and poor decisions of two reckless youths.
Continue reading Movie Review: Chicuarotes (2019)
The Platform / El hoyo (dir. Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia, 2020) – Two people wake on a cell in a vertical prison, where one single food platform descends to feed the occupants of each level for two minutes per day.
At any given moment, on the same planet, there are those who live in excess and many who survive on none. Some inherit their wealth. Others are born into poverty. Unfortunately, the class divide keeps widening and we struggle to keep people from falling through the gap.
The Platform illustrates this harrowing divide in a literal analogy. The grim urban legend is told through the eyes of Goreng (Ivan Massagué), who awakes on Level 48 of a seemingly endless vertical shaft. Every day, food descends to each level on a massive platform for two minutes.
Continue reading Movie Review: The Platform / El hoyo (2020)
Durante la tormenta / Mirage (dir. Oriol Paulo, 2019) – Two storms connect a woman’s murder and a child’s vanishing, 25 years apart.
Director Oriol Paulo has produced yet another compelling genre film that delivers in suspense and heart, despite predictable turns.
25 years ago, young Nico (Julio Bohigas-Couto) was killed in a car accident after he witnessed a murder during a storm. Another storm in the preesent day sees Vera (Adriana Ugarte) find a way to reach Nico before his death. She prevents his accident with a warning, only to be swept up in the butterfly effect of the altered events.
Something a small as the flutter of a butterfly’s wing can cause a typhoon halfway around the world, or so claims the Chaos Theory. It rings true for Vera. Her perfect life falls apart when she learns that her child Gloria was never born and that she is no longer who she believed herself to be.
Continue reading Movie Review: Mirage / Durante la tormenta (2019)
The Photographer of Mauthausen / El fotógrafo de Mauthausen (dir. Mar Targarona, 2019) – Francesc Boix, a Spaniard inmate in the Austrian concentration camp, tries to save the photographic evidence of the horrors committed within.
Boix’s subtle rebellion against the Nazi death camps proves one of the most important events in history, and The Photographer of Mauthausen is necessary telling of these less known heroics.
The Mauthausen Concentration Camp was one of Nazi Germany’s most brutal concentration camps, meant mostly for the Reich’s political prisoners. Over 8,000 Spaniards were interned at the camp, of which more than half lost their lives to the Nazis’ atrocious abuse and murders. These war crimes might have gone unpunished, if not for the courage of Francesc Boix (played by Mario Casas).
The warden’s right-hand man and reluctant photographer gained privileges that few had. But even at Boix’s young age, none of that was important to him. Instead, he plotted a rebellion and risked his life, all to hide the evidence that the Nazis wished to destroy. The Photographer of Mauthausen is a long-due homage to the bravery of Boix and the other Spaniard heroes, who succeeded in saving over 3,000 photographs from destruction.
Continue reading Movie Review: The Photographer of Mauthausen (2019)