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Film Review: ‘The Human Surge’

9 February 2017 9:00 AM, PST | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

It’s oddly appropriate that Argentine director Eduardo Williams’ feature debut, “The Human Surge” picked up the top prize in Locarno’s “Filmmakers of the Present” sidebar, because watching it does make one acutely experience the present tense — a disproportionate amount of present tense considering its 99 minute runtime. Williams’ formal rigor is to be admired, as is his confidence that anything but the nichiest of audiences might feel inspired to provide for themselves all the things his film wilfully withholds.

But theoretical admiration alone is a poor substitute for engagement, and, lacking in narrative or character (the film is all theme and no story), the payoff moments for all one’s carefully invested attention are few and far between. The fact that one of those moments involves macro footage of subterranean ants burrowing through the earth — and that it feels like the warmest and most human section of the film »

- Jessica Kiang

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