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Ariana Lexie Afradi
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Already struggling to survive in the urban jungle of Caracas, José discovers that the decrepit mansion he occupies with his family will soon be demolished. Driven by a desire for a better life and guided by the ancestral spirits of the house, José embarks on a mystical search for a cache of gold that is rumored to be buried in the walls of the mansion. This film is a real story and played by the actual characters.Written by
La Biennale di Venezia
Third World poverty is a subject the cinema seems unwilling to tackle, perhaps understandably so since the movies are fundamentally a commercial enterprise and 'entertainment' is the name of the game. When 'western' cinema tackles the subject, (and I am thinking here of Hollywood cinema), it tends to romanticize it or make it the subject of a thriller so it's often left to 'native' cinema to deal with their own issues and a lot of the time, when they do, the subject is turned around and treated as an 'action' flic or simply ignored altogether. "La Soledad" is mercifully, and thankfully, the exception.
Jorge Thielen Armand's film hails from Venezuela where poverty and crime are debilitating issues. In a society ruled by violence Negro and his family have virtually nothing, living on the edge and with the likelihood of being thrown out of the crumbling mansion where they are virtual squatters. There is no melodrama in the telling of their tale and little drama either. Armand simply observes his characters as they struggle from one day to the next. This could be a documentary and his cast, all playing themselves, respond with extraordinarily naturalistic 'performances'. The tragedy lies in our knowledge that for many people in Venezuela life is unlikely to get any better than it is shown here. 'Action', for want of a better word, when it happens does so off-screen and yet, never for a moment, could you describe this film as boring; the potential for a violence never actually seen is never far from the surface. Let's hope this extraordinary film finds the audience it deserves.
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