This month marks the end of another year at the movies and while other online publications are busy doing retrospectives on the entire decade, we at Remezcla are too tired/drunk/don’t care to do that; besides, that type of work requires a mammoth undertaking not only in movie watching, but also analysis in subtext, the political and social context in which they were made and stuff that would seem to belong more to a scholarly journal. As for us, we have compiled a list of films that for better or worse, impacted us the most this year.
Sure fire bets such as Sin Nombre, Tony Manero and The Headless Woman get their due notices. Other films have also made an impact on us, for all the wrong reasons. Regardless of their individual worth, these films belong to a decade that will go down in the history books as a sort of renaissance in film for Latin America [and Spain. And Brazil.]
These films were picked not because we have any sort of bias for “artsy” films (besides, most of them come off as pretentious anyway) or the subject matter of the film; we picked these films due to their simple ability to entertain and if these films were able to do that as well as provide an “aha!” moment, then all the better. Of course, this is a highly subjective list and by no means is a definitive one. Besides, there is always the comment button if you feel your picks should be on there. As for now, let this be a love letter to a year that only has a couple of weeks to exist and let us look forward to 2010. Without further ado, here are the picks in no particular order:
[p2p type=”slug” value=”tony-manero” text=”TONY MANERO” ]
Leave it to Pablo Larrain to make a film about an anti-social loser and turn it into a film that is as much about the legacy of the Pinochet years. Add some snazzy polyester suits and a creeping feeling of dread and this film, rather than have the main character come out on top, shows this world to be full of oppression, deceit and self-delusion. A great movie on that special period of time and a warning to Chile at large, lest it forget.
[p2p type=”slug” value=”the-headless-woman” text=”LA MUJER SIN CABEZA (THE HEADLESS WOMAN)” ]
Lucretia Martel’s work may turn off some movie goers due to it’s purposeful disorientation, but her effort emerges victorious due to its pacing and editing as well as the great acting from lead Maria Onetto as well as supporting actors. Martel allows her camera to linger on the main character in many scenes as a window into her mind without using obvious messages and her commentary on sexism and racial and class tensionS is effortless; which is no small thing.
[p2p type=”slug” value=”sin-nombre” text=”SIN NOMBRE” ]
Sin Nombre takes two tired topics (gang banging and illegal immigration) and makes a unique mix that makes the viewer emotionally invested in the fates of the characters as well as provide a sobering look at a situation that can only be called one of the tragedies of our time. Despite these heavy messages, this film is a wildly entertaining one that doesn’t revert to tired messages of pacifism or even really, broad brushstrokes of the myriad people who occupy the screen. It is only concerned with one thing: to escape.
LA NANA (THE MAID)
At first, the film seems like a depressing look at the life of a middle-aged maid. However, just when you have it figured out, the movie does a 180 and becomes a story of redemption and transformation. From a fight with a rotund maid to her co-worker, Lucy’s disarming warmth, The Maid is an ode to a woman who has sacrificed her youth in the service of a rich family. Catalina Saavedra’s performance is spellbinding and Sebastian Silva’s direction is incredible as he is able to create a powerful film on the people that live in the shadows.
[p2p type=”slug” value=”stalk-almodovar-and-his-new-film” text=”LOS ABRAZOS ROTOS (BROKEN EMBRACES)” ]
Pedro Almodovar‘s quite the fey man and his latest work has Penelope Cruz in it! But the real treat is the use of film noir added with early 90’s technology to make pointed commentary on not only the results of unrestrained passion, but the rise of technology as an important ally to the budding filmmaker. Whether its Mateo Blanco (Lluis Homar)’s agonizing over poor sets in between banging his lead actress or Ernesto Jr.’s (Rubén Ochandiano), quasi-documentary, the film shows that sometimes, despite what we wish for, what we get is only fleeting pleasure and only the memories remain. Since that’s the case, this film holds it in spades. To top things off, the movie features the song “Vitamin C” from 60’s experimental German band Can! You won’t go wrong with this choice.
WORTH CHECKING OUT:
Let the angry comments begin and have a happy new year!