Director: Daniel de la Vega
Writers: Nicanor Loreti (screenplay), Germán Val (screenplay) Daniel de la Vega (screenplay)
Stars: Hugo Astar, Julieta Cardinali, Luis Machín
This was a random Netflix choice one night as it sounded interesting and my kind of thing. An Argentinian film, Daniel de la Vega has been directing for quite some time now but this is the first film of his I have seen. I shall certainly be seeking out his other stuff as I was very impressed with this unusual and stylish film.
As the film opens we see a tailor in the process of making a suit. The tailors workshop looks old and is very dark and gloomy. Various mannequins adorn the premises in differing states of disrepair and decay. This whole sequence is rather creepy due to the set rather than anything actually happening on screen. Brilliantly shot and directed. The tailor then puts the suit on and a single tear runs down his cheek.
From here it becomes a surreal and at times confusing ride that we are taken on. That’s not to say that that is a bad thing and I do believe that was the directors intention. While not really a Giallo in the truest sense, this feature certainly contains many elements from the classic Italian style and could be considered a modern Giallo, of which many are starting to now appear. Giallo is one of my favourite genres and it’s nice to see more filmmakers imitating and recreating this classic style.
The acting is superb from all concerned but especially from Luis Machin as Dante. He carries the film and is very believable in his role. The relationships between all the characters are also solid, well written and believable. The direction is wonderful and the lighting, photography and sets are all second to none. This is a director who who knows his craft and knows what he wants to see.
The use of angles and photography is clever and at times the constantly changing focus onto inanimate objects is really good and works in this type of film, though I can see many could be put off by this. One shot in particular involving a mirror which is reversed seconds later is brilliantly done. The film is a joy to watch and the cemetery scene for example is superbly shot. The director along with the cinematographer obviously know how to bring together their vision to the screen, very reminiscent of how Kar-Wai Wong and Christopher Doyle work together.
The special effects are good for the very few instances of them. Overall a quite interesting film even though for large portions I had no clue what was going on. It also does not overstay its welcome with only a modest run time of seventy five minutes. Strongly recommended for fans of the Giallo genre or those looking for something away from the usual Hollywood formulaic rubbish.
The Sage’s Rating: 8/10