Wednesday, March 18, 2015

A Thin Line Between Savage and Civilized

Los Muertos (2003) - Alonso
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The film opens with whirling camera in the lush jungle, trees, leaves goes in and out of frame. Then it reveals dead bodies of two young men on the ground. Los Muertos's superficial plot concerns Argentino, a good looking, fit, middle aged convict getting released from prison after serving time for killing his two younger brothers. He made arrangement in the pen to find his now grown up daughter, now released, he needs to take the boat up to where she lives. The film is shoddy on dialog for expository details and we endure almost ethno-documentary style shot film as Argentino prepares for the journey, getting laid, gathering supplies, some presents (even though he has no idea if his daughter is a grown up or not), water and a jug of wine.

Argentino turns out to be very able man when it comes to getting his resources in the jungle. His swift decisions and confident manners are at first reassuring but rather scary, as in almost animalistic. Then there is violence. Is he some sort of a psycho killer going upstream to wipe out remnants of his family? Alonso reminds us that there is a bridge between this savage man in the jungle and us, as indicated by a child's toy at the end of the film. That nature and civilization is closer than we think. It's a highly adventurous filmmaking and certainly trumps over fake butcheries in the likes of Cannibal Holocaust. Disturbing and thought provoking, Los Muertos proves Alonso to be one of the most adventurous auteur working today.

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