Fuga (2006) Poster

(2006)

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7/10
A promising debut for the director of 'Tony Manero' that founders in its circular script
Chris Knipp6 November 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Larrain shows considerable dash in this first feature about a traumatized young composer, Eliseo Montalbán (Benjamín Vicuña), whose memory of seeing his sister raped and murdered (over a piano) when he was a child is reawakened when the mysterious death of his female piano soloist during the premiere of his symphony leads him into madness. He disappears into an institution, till a mediocre musician, Ricardo Coppa(Gastón Pauls),trying to reconstruct his lost composition from writing on the sanatorium walls hidden under wallpaper, finds him, now working as a fisherman.

"Everything in this co-production between Argentina and Chile is preposterous and unbelievable," a Latin American reviewer wrote. Yet in spite of the far fetched and melodramatic elements of the screenplay Larrain directs with conviction. The adult Eliseo (lovely name) appears crazy from the start, and Vicuña has presence though he alternates between poetical suffering and merely vacuousness. One believes in Eliseo because everybody else does but when he has his breakdown and massacres six grand pianos with an ax things become a little too bizarre. (Flashbacks to his childhood are well done; the boy actor too has a strong presence.)

In spite of the far fetched and melodramatic elements of the screenplay Larrain directs with conviction. The adult Eliseo (lovely name) appears crazy from the start, and Vicuña has presence though he alternates between poetical suffering and merely vacuousness. One believes in Eliseo because everybody else does but when he has his breakdown and massacres six grand pianos with an ax things become a little too bizarre. (Flashbacks to his childhood are well done; the boy actor too has a strong presence.) Larrain doesn't have as good material to work with here as he was to have in 'Tony Manero,' either in terms of a central character or in the way of a socio-historical world with rich and disturbing overtones. This seems a little like something Francis Ford Coppola might have recently done -- but the doomed Italian family in Buenos Aires of Coppola's 'Tetro' is a much richer mix than Eliseo and his privileged parents, and the intermingling of Chilean and Argentinian elements and characters seems unconvincing to South American viewers and confusing to North American ones.

The title plays with the double meaning of the word "fuga" as both the musical form of the fugue, and "flight", since Eliseo goes into a flight from his traumas and his madness. But I guess that isn't any more profound than any other aspects of the screenplay.

Still, the element already there that was to flower in 'Tony Manero' is the ability Larrain has to delve into an utterly doomed, deranged world with unswerving focus and conviction. It just means so much more in the second film than in this polished but relatively empty debut.
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10/10
A composer goes mad...
zuzana-mega2 April 2011
This is a great movie! The story is very good structured, parts of the story are always in a perfect mixture with the present happenings. The actors are good and the music is strange. There are some really great scenes, and this movie has everything: love, hatred, passion, pianos, aggression, music, violence and a great plot. The only thing is, that I don't understand people who really dislike this movie, some of them have written bad reviews, but I'm glad that I watched it anyway...probably those people didn't really understand the movie and those hidden messages. I will never forget the tension which this movie built up, I can only suggest everyone(who like psychological movies) tho watch it.
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6/10
Rhapsody in blood
jotix10025 January 2008
Warning: Spoilers
"Fuga", an Argentine-Chilean co-production was shown recently in a cable channel. Not having a clue as to what it was about, the premise looked interesting. This is the first full length feature directed by Pablo Larrain.

The plot centers around a composer, Eliseo Montalban, who might be a genius, but who can't deliver his masterpiece because not only is his composition difficult to execute, but it represents for its creator the sum of the trauma he experienced as a young man when he watched in horror the raping and murder of his own sister in mysterious circumstances. We watch how Montalban, who is going to conduct the premiere of his own creation at the Municipal theater in Santiago, witnesses from the podium the death of his beloved Georgina from what appears a massive coronary with blood exploding from her head.

Eliseo Montalban goes crazy after his loss. The man ends up in a mental institution where he adorns the walls of the room he is confined to, with the Danza Macabra musical score. Eliseo has gone mad after the failure of his debut by attacking, and destroying six pianos in a conservatory, which clearly indicates he is quite disturbed. In a way, he is fighting his own demons in the only way he knows how.

Enter Ricardo Coppa, a man who is interested in finding the legendary composition. Everything leads him to the room in the now crumbling building that housed the hospital in which Eliseo Montalban was a patient. To his amazement, he discovers under the wall paper what had eluded him from the start. Coppa, an untalented pianist wants to make the composition his own.

"Fuga" has some visual elements that are at first appealing, but unfortunately, the narrative, as conceived by Mateo Iribarren, Hernan Rodriguez Matte, and the director, becomes too weird for its own good. The casting of Benjamin Vicuna as the mad composer, doesn't add up anything to the plot because this role demanded a much more experienced actor. Gaston Pauls, a good Argentine film star does what he can, but he is not helped by a screen play that becomes tiresome as it goes along. The music of Juan Cristobal Meza is interesting, as is the cinematography of Miguel Joan Littin.

Watch "Fuga" as a curiosity.
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2/10
stupid ans pretentious
frauna13 September 2008
The best way to define this movie is... such a waste. Very good Chilean actors (like the sublime Alfredo Castro) and a bunch of pianos are destroyed in this movie, a stupid and pretentious story about a musician that went mentally insane (the handsome Benjamin Vicuña) and another musician who's trying to find him and steal his music (God knows why, the music is not even that good). Nice idea, but just the idea. Larrain, the director, probably watched too many '90s video clips in his young life: the movie is a poor mix of Madonna and Guns and Roses nineties videos, with yes, the blood, the flying curtains, the pianos, etc. etc. He (the director) just missed the beautiful girl running through dark corridors wearing a long and sexy white gown. But well, Benjamin Vicuna is more feminine and delicate than a lot of girls you see around, so is almost the same.
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