Saturday, June 17, 2023

Six Love

Smog en tu corazon (2022) - Seles Screen Shot 2023-06-17 at 10.00.38 AM Lucia Seles's wry comedy about a Tennis club and its employees and their romance may sound like a premise of a TV sit-com, but its presentation is nothing but. The editing style of Smog is truly innovative. With cutting between parallel actions, long sequences, jump cuts and repetitions, the film is jarring at first until you settle into its own rhythm, as we get invested on the characters. Most of them are neurotic mess: the owner of the place is Manuel, who is affable enough but still wants to present himself as a boss, Lujan, an employee with a penchant for classical music and her precious 16 CD collections precariously stacked on her tiny desk, Javier, a nervous accountant who likes to gather the team around and announce his incongruous findings about the world, Sergio, Manuel's childhood buddy who just came from San Juan to help the business out and Martha, a former player who is hired to give lessons and very sensitive about being called other than 'tennis player'.

As their daily activities play out with their silly and amusing anecdotes and stories, we find everyone is in love with someone else and the feelings are not reciprocal at all and no one is brave enough to come right out and say what they feel. In many ways, Smog en tu corazon is like a Shakespearean screwball comedy or Chekhovian chamber piece that takes place in a rundown small tennis club in Spain. It also reminds me of the sprawling yarn that has been coming out of Argentina in recent years- La Flor and Trenque Lauquen. It's good trend to have these little small films with no budget sprouting up.

Smog en tu corazon is most notable in its editing. It's not tethered to having an extra meaning or used as some sort of signifier; it presents a different cinematic language and rhythm. And I am surprised at myself how easily I get sucked in to these lives and completely forget about the formalist presentation. Enjoyed it immensely.

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