Once a film connoisseur by the name of Óliver Vega said: "[...] And then mankind perfected art. Thousands of years have gone by, perpetuating the spirit within us whose endeavors imprint on art itself."
The credits rolled by and the audience was perfectly silent. I, too, was speechless. Not a word was uttered. A sort of trance had descended upon us, like a plague, inhibiting our fundamental tool of communication. I got up and left. It was already dark when I felt the hot winds of a Puerto Rican night brush toward my face, and that very feeling jolted a memory that came thundering from nonexistence. I remembered my father. He was a practical man who had settled for a simple job at the car retailer. He was a man of few words. But more than the man who raised me, I remembered the first and only time I saw him weep. He had become vulnerable, exposed. Then, in an unexplainable hurry, he turned the television off and remained perfectly silent, like the audience. I felt his watery eyes look at me, a small boy who had only began to form sentences. He grinned, got up and left to work.
Dominium, starring acclaimed actors Emanuel Freire and Yomar Dávila, accompanied by the ever so beautiful Nicole Ramos, is, simply put, the quintessence of Puerto Rican cinema. Where to begin? It narrates the journey of five college students, who, in attempt to understand the supernatural magic that shrouds Puerto Rican folklore, decide to explore infamous locations around the lush terrains of Puerto Rico in search for paranormal occurrences. In perspective, this is a film about seeking the truth. Myth and reality clash in what may very well be the most absorbing horror-drama I've experienced.
Its crisp, thought-provoking dialogue submerged me into the infinite depths of the characters, which allowed me to become them. I felt their horror. I felt my heart beat against my chest like a drum, in an eerie synchronization with the characters. The fluid cinematography, shot in a stylized version of found-footage, flirted with the audience. It danced with me; from an electric salsa to a slow-rhythmed bolero. Never in my life had I felt so extenuated after watching a film - in the most passionate way.
"Cuidado puede haber uno a tu lado." These words will haunt me forever. For Dominium is, without a doubt, a film to remember.
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