TIFF18 REVIEW: Rojo [2018]

They say bodies appear in the desert. The film opens as people leave a house with objects in-hand, the assumption being that they were bought in an estate sale or pilfered before one could begin. A man (Diego Cremonesi) looks in the front door as clueless as we are to what’s happening before a jump cut finds him entering a packed restaurant. Impatient by the bar, he gruffly asks a gentleman seated alone (Dario Grandinetti‘s Claudio) if he’s done eating. An argument colored by entitlement and false manners respectively breaks…

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REVIEW: Neruda [2016]

“He’s the king of love” Pablo Neruda was a Chilean legend. He was a poet who won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1971, a diplomat holding multiple posts including that of Senator for the Communist Party, and ultimately so feared by President González Videla and President Augusto Pinochet that his death is rumored to have been murder hidden underneath a cancer diagnosis. It’s a diverse and implausible life that could just as easily have been fiction rather than the reality it was. He rallied together a country desperate to…

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REVIEW: El Club [The Club] [2015]

“Has it ever occurred to you that you’re a criminal?” This is a film about deafening silence and how one unexpected intrusion can turn the normalcy of its sequestered solitude on its head. It’s a silence we have seen before a couple months ago in Spotlight—there too it was extracted from secret penance to the penal system of public consciousness. Pablo Larraín‘s vision is on a much smaller scale although the ramifications are just as brutally blunt and far-reaching. For him the issue wasn’t exposing the crimes of Catholic priests…

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TIFF12 REVIEW: No [2012]

“Happiness is coming” What began with a coup ended by the courage of a select group of citizens believing Chile was ready to think about their future. Without bloodshed, bullets, or illegal maneuvering, a misguided attempt by dictator General Pinochet to let the world know he had his country’s support became his ultimate downfall. After legalizing political parties, pressure from the US in 1988 called for the General to issue a plebiscite vote to decide whether or not to extend his reign by eight years. Allowing political detractors to advertise…

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REVIEW: Santiago 73, post mortem [Post Mortem] [2011]

“Congratulations. You now serve the Chilean Army.” Taking the formula he used in Tony Manero one step further, writer/director Pablo Larraín‘s Venice Film Festival Golden Lion award-winning film Santiago 73, post mortem [Post Mortem] assures the world he is a director worth your time. Retaining his trademark shooting style that lingers way longer than comfort should allow, we are thrust into the action by sifting through its aftermath. Always hearing destruction off-screen or seeing it on the edges of the frame, it’s the methodical tracking shots through empty streets with…

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REVIEW: Tony Manero [2008]

“That glass floor is the only thing that turns you on” The first of Pablo Larraín‘s cinematic trilogy set during Augusto Pinochet’s reign in Chile, Tony Manero seems happy to keep the political turmoil of the dictator’s regime in the background. Rather than overtly describe the period and the oppression against government detractors, the writer/director decides to focus on one very eccentric man named Raúl Peralta. Friends with enemies and fans alike, we watch his proclivities for violence as he uses the police state to his advantage. With curfews enforced,…

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