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Film Review: Wild Tales written and directed by Damián Szifrón

I told my daughter I was going to the cinema and she asked me what I was going to see.

“It’s Argentinian,” I said.

“Why do you want to see an Argentinian film?” she asked.  “We already saw a Saudi Arabian film.”

Clearly watching a foreign film, while being a nice experience, is not something she feels the need to repeat, which is a shame, because Wild Tales was fantastic.  It had everything: it was funny, it was surprising, it was tense, it was scary, it was uplifting.

The film comprises of 6 short films, all exploring the theme of conflict and revenge.  Conceptually, it is very thought provoking.  We see a range of conflicts and motives: one on one, individual vs system, long burning, spur of the moment, and also internal conflicts, where characters were made to question their own motivations.  I even felt that I was being invited to question my own reactions by some provocative scenarios.

Technially, it was beautifully shot, involving everything from mountain scenery, to complex fight choreography in the smallest space you can imagine, to scenes where you wondered whether they were real or special effects.

There was only one film out of the six that I was disappointed with, because it didn’t end as cleverly as the others.  There were some great twists, where a different point of view was revealed, and everything up until that point was revealed as being a different thing from what I thought it was.

I’ll take many things from this film, among them an appreciation that even the dullest of tasks, such as changing a car tyre, can be made into the tensest of scenes in the right hands.  And there was an amazing love scene.  I’m not so much into hetero stuff these days, and often find portrayals of male-female relationships in books and films rather ho-hum, as if the creator hasn’t really bothered, but just thought that the mere being of a male and female character is enough reason to pair them up.  But this one smouldered!  Sparks, explosions, and animal instinct, it was all there.

Spar

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9 Comments

  1. Nice review, Lisa! I’m sorry your daughter didn’t go with you. Good scenery is always nice…add in some sparks, it’s worth the ticket price! 🙂

  2. I don’t think this will play in HK unfortunately but it sounds interesting. The cinemas here seem to run the same old cops and robbers, super-hero junk that shows elsewhere but ‘foreign’ films of other genres are too niche. A shame really.

    • There seems to be a greater choice now in the UK than there was when I was growing up. And I’ve discovered that cinema going, seeing unusual films, is a social activity that gives people are chance to meet like minded others.

  3. This sounds really good and also sounds like something I’d enjoy. I practically never go to the movies these days though and I’m not sure when I’d manage it. Perhaps I’ll be able to get it on DVD eventually.

    • My friend said to me, “Have you seen X Y and Z of Aldomovar?” and I said, “No, no and no.” And then, “There was a long time when I didn’t see any films or read any books at all.” I understand – watching a film is a long time to take out of your life when you have a young family and work.

  4. This hasn’t come around to my city, but I’ll keep that in mind. Thanks for your review. I’m a fan of foreign films. Have seen a few this year. My fave is Ida from Polish/English director Pawel Pawlikowski, which is a likely Oscar nominee in the coming Awards Season. Have you seen it? My other faves include the Indian movie The Lunchbox, and from Japan Like Father Like Son, the German film Barbara…

    • When I mentioned I’d seen a foreign film, the person I was talking to mentioned Ida! I will look out for it now – I hadn’t heard of it. I’ve watched a couple of great Japanese films, Departures was the best. Japanese films can be very sensitive about emotions and also perceptive about their own society. Thanks!

  5. Hi Denise. I am always interested in new Foreign films. While living in Philadelphia, I had numerous opportunities to see some great films. One of my favorites that i just posted on Facebook is Camille Claudel starring Isabelle Adjani. A great French film exploring the destructive relationship between Camille and Sculptor Rodin. I would love to see this film. Is the Director Pedro Aldomovar? I have posted a few film reviews on my blog, if you are interested in checking them out.

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