In an urban comedy, Cristobal (40), a father and businessman, sees how his wife is awarded a scholarship and moves to Spain, wanting to take him and their children along with her. ... See full summary »
Martina was a famous singer in Argentina during the late 90s, who's become completely frigid and disenchanted with love. The arrival of a so-called sister, alongside her attractive boyfriend, compel Martina to go to Chile with one objective in mind: getting back her libido.
A crisis counselor is sent by the Catholic Church to a small Chilean beach town where disgraced priests and nuns, suspected of crimes ranging from child abuse to baby-snatching from unwed mothers, live secluded, after an incident occurs.
Carlitos is a seventeen-year-old youth with movie star swagger, blond curls and a baby face. As a young boy, he coveted other people's things, but it wasn't until his early adolescence that... See full summary »
Against the backdrop of an impending environmental crisis, two troubled adolescents strive to find their place in the world in this stirring debut film from Chile, which weaves together political themes both social and personal.
Martín Castillo plays Javier, the slim, doe-eyed, slightly scruffy 19-year-old hero of this very vernacular, talky, flavorful Chilean youth picture written by the 25-year-old José Manuel "Che" Sandoval, divided into diaristic chapters with chatty headings and titled overall You Think You're the Prettiest, But You're the Sluttiest. Camila Le-bert is Valentina, the neighbor he would like to make his girlfriend. Francisco Braithwaite is Javier's artsy best friend Nicolas, whose talk is even more pungent. With his playful, nonstop jive talk, Javier negotiates Valentina into going to bed with him -- he's nothing if not a talker -- but then very soon afterward she sleeps with Nicolas, so Javier tries to make it with Nicolas' regular girlfriend in revenge, but she's not interested. Then he goes on a little odyssey, winding up more bedraggled than ever but just as charming and indomitable, as the film ends, in front of Valentina's house.
This is the modern generation, whose talk is slangy and dirty and focused on "soccer, video games and the content of your iPod," as a festival blurb intones. This cinematic chronicle of a couple days in a young man's life, which was young Sandoval's thesis for film school, is more about a needy, ironic sensibility than about any specific events. Castillo is remarkable, mouthing Sandoval's lines as if he wrote them himself -- a lot of the time he is improvising them. Sometimes, especially in the early dialogue when he's wooing Valentina, the chatter so concentrated on wordplay and showing off that it almost makes no sense, but that's when it's best, when the film really sings.
And anyway, it's obvious what Javier's about. The defining moment comes when, after a long night leaves him battered and bruised in morning, Javier sidles up to an aging prostitute, the real thing. ("Puta," prostitute, is one of the kids' favorite words. ) With motor-mouthed eloquence Javier tells her, speaking for himself and the audience more than for her, that the ones who give it away for free are more "puta" than she is, who is a "puta" only as a job -- and, moreover, she says only on Saturdays. She's really old. But as she speaks, her face becomes both beautiful and elegant. She may indeed have more class that the girls Javier tries to take to bed. Trying to live the "puta" life is all he does himself, he also declares; he just doesn't succeed: he's "an expert at f--ing up."
People come and go and tell their stories, most lamely a guy at a bar who says his girlfriend has gone off to Spain to study art, emptied their house, which belonged to her family, and sent off their two kids to be cared for elsewhere. Javier isn't moved. He thinks his sufferings are equal. He's the center of his world. We never see his parents. Valentina's mother is only a voice from her house. The way Javier slips back into a conversation with Valentina after the closing credits is typically sly and natural. This kid never succeeds but he never quits either. He is the embodiment of a certain kind of youth.
Te creís la más linda (pero es la más puta) premiered at the Valdivia Film Festival in Chile in 2008. The cast also includes Andrea Riquelme (Francisca), Sebastian Brahm, Paula Bravo, Grimanesa Jimenez (the prostitute), and someone or something called Ramirez! The cinematography is by Felipe Bello; the editing is by Manuel Piña (who doubled on the sound) and Sandoval. The film was shown as part of the San Francisco International Film Festival 2010, in competition for the New Directors Prize. Not much other information is available about it on the English-language Internet, but it has been in other festivals, as its trailers show: http://vimeo.com/4214580. It has something in common with Alex dos Santos' 2006 Glue and the films of Fernando Eimbcke and Gerardo Naranjo. It's especially notable for its emphasis on the rhythms of contemporary language, and its motor-mouthed hero is a portrait of a sensibility that is both of today and classic. Times have certainly changed, but there is something of Holden Caulfield in Javier. This is a 21st-century Hispanic Holden struggling to maintain the integrity of his fledgling male ego. Another vivid illustration of the energy of Latin American film-making: Che Sandoval is a young director to watch.
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