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Julio De Grazia
Let us trade at least 100 of the last tedious, stale Hollywood action films for Spiner's La Sonambula. This is not your ordinary sci-fi film.
In Buenos Aires, 2010 AD, a government experiment with chemical weapons goes out of control, entirely erasing the memories of hundreds of thousands of its citizens. The government provides a recovery program to supposedly rehabilitate the afflicted, returning them to their families, professions and former identities. But a man named Gauna is leading a resistant movement, professing the dreadful truth: the new identities are a lie, even the families they were returned to are bogus.
Meanwhile, outsider Eva, a new victim of the mass amnesia, is caught and her dreams studied and reveal her connection to Gauna. She is set free in hopes of catching him. The government sends another citizen after her, Ariel, telling him that he is actually a spy for the state and should kill both Gauna and Eva. As they try and escape from the city they fall in love, but continue to struggle with issues of truth, deception and memory.
The grand fairy-tale quality of La Sonambula is supported by Spiner's use of both color, and black and white film. Other uses of contrast I appreciated were the quiet, conflicted primary characters meeting some of the real heroes of this story who were bold and fearless in their resistance to the brain washing attempts by the government.
This is one of my favorite science fiction films because there seems to be less fiction and more parallels with reality than you might expect from sci-fi flicks. I see this film as a brilliant metaphor for our times and relevant for anyone who needs faith in the possibility of good contemporary film-making.
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