Monday, April 12, 2021

Killing Revenge

Los Conductos (2020) - Restrepo Screen Shot 2021-04-12 at 3.01.40 PM Screen Shot 2021-04-12 at 3.02.39 PM Screen Shot 2021-04-12 at 2.36.50 PM Screen Shot 2021-04-12 at 2.40.28 PM Screen Shot 2021-04-12 at 2.49.05 PM Screen Shot 2021-04-12 at 2.51.11 PM Camilo Restrepo's enigmatic first feature packs a lot in one hour and ten minutes running time. We are introduced to a young bearded man (Luis Felipe Lozano) who shoots his way out of an empty warehouse where he has been living, steals a motorbike and rides into the night. The economy of shots here are astounding - Thrown flashlights, sound of a motor of a bike running then crashing (without ever showing an attack or crashing), an extended leash of a dog and a barking (but without a dog). It's all simple shots and gestures and some sound thrown that suggest narrative. It tells you all you need to know though. The voice over comes in around 11 minutes after the credits. The young man is apparently running from an underground cult - a collective of people on the margins united by their hate of the society. Its leader, only known as 'father', has disappointed him. He saw something in the leader he can't forgive (it might have to do with being a pedophily clown). The timeline isn't very clear as we see the young man getting fired from a silkscreen T-shirt factory for drug use then breaking into a warehouse space in the middle part of the movie. Are we seeing the flashback? The voice over tells the story of abandoned kids he once saw on TV. The young man and his friend named 'Revenge' takes the role of the kids and have a joyride in the mostly empty city which is directly underneath Medellin (as suggested by empty highways, tunnels) the second largest city in Colombia. Laiden with metaphors and parables, Los Conductos is ultimately commenting on cyclical nature of violence and its culture in Colombia: it takes a jab at the early military government indoctrination, the rampant waste of industrial and capitalist productions and the lost generation they created. It's Restrepo's ingenuity of creating something complex out of so little that is admirable here. With Arthur Gillette's appropriately pounding score, Los Conductos is a daring, dazzling cinematic exercise that is once again proving the future of cinema is in Latin America.