REVIEW: Bestia [Beast] [2021]

Rating: 7 out of 10.
  • Rating: NR | Runtime: 15 minutes
    Release Date: 2021 (Chile)
    Director(s): Hugo Covarrubias
    Writer(s): Hugo Covarrubias & Martín Erazo

Her name was Íngrid Olderöck, otherwise known as “The Woman with the Dogs.” A Carabineros de Chile officer turned National Intelligence Directorate (DINA) agent under Augusto Pinochet, she received the nickname due to having trained a German Shepherd to sexually abuse and rape political prisoners of the regime in a middle-class neighborhood home coined the “Sexy Bandage.” She would later desert and fall victim to an assassination attempt led by the Movement of the Revolutionary Left (MIR) despite always assuming the hit was orchestrated by the Carabineros itself. She’d survive, claim madness with the bullet still lodged in her head, and ultimately die in 2001 of a digestive hemorrhage without ever facing charges for the human rights violations she committed in the 1970s. She is the Bestia [Beast].

Directed by Hugo Covarrubias and co-written with Martín Erazo, this animated short seeks to address the darkness of Chile’s past by giving Olderöck’s boogeywoman form by way of an emotionless porcelain doll. The stop-motion animation aesthetic is absolutely stunning with the glossy sheen of heads and hands juxtaposed against rough cardboard sets and canvas bodies. Our first glimpse of her historical monster comes inside an airplane with the camera slowing creeping closer and closer to the cracked hole at her temple until we’re transported back through nightmares, memories, and fantasies. Outdoor scenes playing fetch with her dog Volodia make way for bloody decapitations, bestiality (with the help of fruit preserves), and foreboding ghosts lingering in the distance with blank faces devoid of features. It’s some truly disquieting stuff.

Part national identity catharsis and part political diatribe, Covarrubias takes us through the psychological struggles of an infamous tormentor in a way that ensures we provide her no sympathy. Her fate is karmic retribution, the demons haunting her waking and dreaming self her own creation and weight to bear. Some of the imagery is disturbing to the point of malicious intent via creative license, but you can’t really blame the filmmakers for raking Olderöck’s memory through the coals. Admiring the craft simply means enduring the subject matter’s unavoidable horrors. And although its impact surely hits harder for those who know the story and/or lived through that era’s prevailing sense of fear, learning a bit about who she was and what she did is enough to sufficiently follow along.

courtesy of ShortsTV

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.