|Index||3 reviews in total|
Marco Bechis returns to Argentina, but this time seen from an 'overseas', but no less worrying perspective. A more ambitious , and maybe less successful, film than his grueling 'Garage Olimpo', "Hijos/Figli" (and the double title is perfect) tackles the deceptions and false hopes which torment and insinuate themselves into the fragile psyche of the offspring of the 'desaparecidos'. In fact we are now observing the NEXT STEP, the legacy of Argentina's "dirty war". As a viewer I was initially irritated by the protagonists' 'emptyness' or 'wooden' acting. On second reflection I became aware that what I had at first criticized as weak casting was, in fact, taking me one step closer to the real plight of the 'hollow' children of these criminal years. We are not getting two charismatic young leads. We're watching spiritual castaways. Eternal adolescents who don't trust or believe in anything (apparently) but who still keep trying to find the truth (she), and shoo away the flies of doubt (He). So, Hijos/Figli may not be a sensational sequel to 'Olimpo', but yes a far more disturbing film. A queasy trip into the horror's aftermath which may be even more anguishing than the first. What's worse... physical torture or spiritual torture? The parents knew the first, now their children live the second...
It's too easy and it may be reductive, in dealing with such a film, to say that it is about the children of Argentinean desaparecidos, that it is about an obscure moment of present history, that it is a witness or an accusation concerning a hidden series of crimes that are aimed to carry to the surface. That is surely the intention of the director, but the audience may freely say that they're not interested in the subject; moreover, all this may lead to think that it consist of a sort of documentary or a film-dossier with TV features. It isn't. Without subtracting the importance of the historical denounce underneath, another way of looking at it has to be taken into account: it is also (or above all) a film on doubt and deception. Which son, more than the protagonist of the story, had ever been better deceived? His parents are not his real parents, nevertheless he has been guiltily snatched out by his true mother's arms, and his father is an unpunished criminal. Besides, the illusion of having found a sister (rejected at the beginning, hoped little by little as the story proceeds) is mocked by a reality that, together with horror, carries on doubts and uncertainties: the true identity of the boy comes out, but the one of the girl who fights for truth, persuaded to be his twin sister, doesn't. Trapped in an authentic existential drama, the boy can't do but searching a solution that has to be, as well as tragic, symbolic and meaningful, since his life has now, no longer, any meaning. Thus, the movie goes beyond the historical facts and becomes a private but universal tragedy of deception.
This film is so awful, that it's unworthy of many lines, a simple
thumbs down it's all it requires, but since IMDb doesn't accept a short
critic, let's elaborate a bit.
Beginning with the director, Marco Bechis, (let's throw a sorrowful veil of oblivion upon him and the sooner we forget him, the better).
Everything is wrong with this film, the photography, the sound, the background music, the color, the camera settings...what else? consider something I forgot and include it here, you won't be wrong in so doing.
Carlos Echeverría, the son in this story -the main character- maybe it's his first experience in front of a camera --I really hope so, because otherwise he could find a better and easier way to make a living doing anything else on earth than being an actor.
Maybe he was wearing a mask, because he never changed expressions during the whole movie. Joy, sadness, angriness, deep thinking, his expressions were always the same: Blank. The total lack of believability for this character starts with the fact that he's supposed to be a native Italian and yet, speaks Italian with an accent!
Julia Sarano --his probable sister-- follows Echeverría's school of acting. Not a single intonation of hers sounds credible. The only credible thing is her Argentinian accent when speaking Italian, since it could be cut with a knife. This, for a change, goes well with her character, because being a foreigner in Italy, she doesn't need to speak faultlessly with an exquisite Milanese accent. On the other hand, if she's Italian, chapeau for her imitation of a foreign accent because it's superb. But her acting... Mamma mia! she should be thrown to the lions, with no remorse.
Stefania Sandrelli, usually such an excellent and reliable actress, is totally wasted in this film, but even so, hers is the best rounded character, even acting under very poor directorial guidelines, she manages to introduce subtle shadings of her own.
Enrique Piñeyro quite good as the boy's father, but his character is poorly delineated.
The dialog, by the director Marco Bechis and Lara Fremder is so bad that couldn't do even for a Venezuelan soap opera (some of them are true masterpieces next to this script).
Barcelona, such a gorgeous location as a background for any film, here is totally ignored and represented when necessary by a miserable strip of sand and ONE palm tree --yes, ONE-- or by the sky, covering the whole screen and giving you the idea of a vast universe, I suppose.
Two sadly wasted hours of my life that will never come back!
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