I had been trying to find out the title of a creepy film I caught on TV late at night, more than 15 years back (it was broadcast on Doordarshan channel from India). Having stumped even the experts on IMDb Message Boards, I had all but given up hope of finding out, when fate finally decided to take pity on me. Today I've finally tracked down the film whose images have been haunting me since the late 1980s.
The film is about an aristocratic/bourgeosie family living in the countryside in a mansion surrounded by their plantations. One morning the family wakes up to discover that all their slaves and servants have run off, having endured much cruelty and arrogance at the hands of the family. The elders decide that they won't go anywhere for help, and will work on their own lands. Of course, having no experience they soon run out of food. Meanwhile, tensions and jealousy between the family members mounts, culminating in murder. But, as they soon realize in desperation, murder can be helpful in survival...
This is a brilliant (if somewhat morbid) drama/black comedy, directed with assured style, and vividly acted. The final few minutes a text-book example of perfection in minimalism, and are guaranteed to have chills running up your spine. I just wish someone would release this masterpiece on DVD soon. Hell, I would even be thankful for a VHS copy.
my rating: 9/10
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The unknown film that haunted me for 20 years before I found it on the Internet
I saw this film somewhere in late 80's or early 90's on TV. Those days DD (Door Darshan, the one of the two TV channels in India) used to screen movies from different countries (which we term as World Movies today) at night after 11 pm. This particular movie was in some non-European language (later I found it was Cuban) and I had just followed the subtitles. In 1980s, there was no Wikipedia or rotten tomatoes to search for movies and neither I had access to IMDb, even if it existed in the 90's. Thus, I could not find the names of those movies, in absence of the critical search keys – Director, actor(s), origin and year of making. But the common qualities of all these movies shown on late night DD were intense drama on the plot, superior camera-work, excellent cinematography and vivid graphical scenes.Honestly, 20 years later I don't remember most of the movie names, except a few. The reason I remember some of the movies, with their plot lines, even some of the scenes is proof enough that they had a pretty long lasting effect on me. These movies had something in common.
They had very strong connection with the socioeconomic situation of the country which the plot were based on. They featured lot of outdoor scenes and used the local weather beautifully to depict the film's mood. They contained abnormal/ harsh cruelty by characters that were forced by the situation. They were truly unforgettable.
One of the movies I vividly remembered and carried for two decades without knowing the name. I have been looking for the title for the last 20 years. Its only recently I have discovered the movie and the world must know about this gem.
The movie was set on a grand palatial building where an affluent bourgeoisie family lived. The family consisted of ladies and gentlemen of various ages and a very old lady. There was a grand dining hall where all the family members used to dine together over elaborate spread of dishes, which looked like an exotic cuisine. The palace had large garden, huge fields of crop all around and it looked as if everything is eternally bright and happy. Somehow because of some a war or a coup, all servants, farmers and domestic helps fled the property and the food supply stopped suddenly. The family started starving. However, being too stubborn to ask for help from the villagers, they decide to grow crops on their own, but fail miserably. Initially they try having vegetable and leaves collected from the garden and make a meal out of it. As days passed they started looking shabbier, affected with dirt and hunger, but they continued their ritualistic family meals, though much humbled in terms of content and presentation. Gradually their human inhibition starts deteriorating as they started eating dead animals. The old lady, who gradually resembled like a scarecrow, tried to fight the birds from eating away the crops but she meets her brutal fate. It was understood that the inhabitants took advantage of the ailing or dying members to have their 'meals' in the same dining room. It was one of the dark and creepy satires I ever saw. The dining room scenes, the baroque style decor and their conversations were the key highlights of the movie with intense performances by the actors.
The Survivors is a fine dark satire. One of the most memorable cinema I have seen in my life. I wish they release the DVD of this film soon.
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