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Fernando Fernán Gómez,
José María Prada
After being mesmerised by the Bell From Hell,I decided to search around for other films that film maker Claudio Guerín (who sadly died on the last day of filming Bell) had made.Whilst Bell From Hell has had an official, slightly-cut release,I was disappointed to find that there appeared to be no sign of Guerín's other work anywhere else.
Taking a look at a DVD sellers page,I was delighted to discover that he had tracked down an anthology movie co-directed by Guerín,which led to me getting ready to see the challenges take place. (Note:Due to there being 3 stories,I am going to split the plot into 3 sections.)
After believing a strange gentleman to be visiting the villa in order to do the gardening,the man is horrified to find out that the stranger is actually someone who his daughter almost got married to in the US.As his wife & daughter start to be pulled in by the strangers charms,the man decides that he must take matters into his own hands,in order to remain in control of the family and the villa.
After their car breaks down,a young hippie couple stumble upon a private countryside villa.Catching the couple walking on his land,the owner grabs the couple and threatens to boot them off the land.Hoping that her easy on the eye looks can help,the hippie girl starts to flirt with the owner.Making sure that his wife is out of sight,the owner offers them a fistful of cash,in exchange for the girl sleeping with him.
Driving into a deserted ghost town,3 friends (and a pet monkey!) start to plan how they can turn this desert into their own revaluation paradise.As the gang start to change the town,one of them begins making plans on giving the revolution an explosive final.
View on the film:
Given the challenge of kicking the film off,director Claudio Guerín displays fascinating hints to what lay in the future,with Guerín's wide floating crane shots creating an eerie atmosphere,as the calmness is revealed to hide an oncoming storm.Soaking the villa in citrus colours, Guerín gradually peels the light away,to reveal the blood-soaked darkness.
Following Guerín's route, José Luis Egea gives the rural setting an excellent misty appearance,with the soft browns and greys of the village crumbling away,as the couple play their game.Uncovering the game that the couple have been playing, Egea brilliantly sprays the film in over saturated colours and tightly held close-up,which superbly expresses the deranged anger that the couple have created.Sending the movie off into the sunset,director Víctor Erice sends the film out on a surreal Western note,thanks to Erice showing every corner of the desert town in vast tracking shots,which make the location look like a burnt-out Wild West town.
Placing a very good Dean Selmier at the centre of each self- contained story,the screenplay by Egea/Erice/Guerín & Rafael Azcona brilliantly builds a number of fascinating underlying themes,with money being shown as the detonator which fires all the characters off into their bleak endings.Along with the dirty money,the writers also brilliantly make male dominance a central theme,with each act of violence being motivated by each of the guys being desperate to keep "their spot",and also having a deep desire to display their overly aggressive alpha- male streak towards the "outsider" women.
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