With the the 2015 Spanish Film Festival about to kick off, Editor PB sipped a tumbler or two of red and nibbled tasty tapas before enjoying a screening of the closing night film Wild Tales.
What do a well-connected airline pilot, rat poison, an homage to Duel, a dynamite-wielding engineer, a protective family and a cheated-upon bride have in common?
Venganza (revenge)…and Wild Tales, the closing night film of the Spanish Film Festival.
Borrowing a pinch or four of the black comedic twists, turns and free-wheeling over-the-top-yet-still-human dramas of Almodóvar, director Damián Szifron takes us on an entertaining romp through the lives of a variety of wounded creatures, all hellbent on taking revenge for reasons, big and small, and nearly always in hot-blooded Latin style.
Having teethed as a director on the award-winning Argentine series Los Simuladores, Szifron is a relatively new kid on the block when it comes to feature film.
Despite such, he manages to put together an enjoyable, mostly fun feature and extract a solid set of performances from a smallish cast that swept the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences of Argentina, and was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the 2015 Oscars.
The six tales themselves vary in length and weight, for the most part focusing on the ridiculous nature of what happens when human beings let go of their inhibitions and take their revenge, however they can, with a variety of consequences. “The Deal” is the exception, steering away from the comedy and more into the black, with an ending that packs a punch to the gut.
Luckily, this darkness is a distant memory when the credits role as the final tale, “Til Death Do Us Part,” about a bride who learns her newly-anointed husband might have had an affair prior to their marriage, is mad-cap (if a little bittersweet on reflection), verging on screwball. Erica Rivas will have you in stitches and also maybe a little frightened at what she might do as the spurned bride. No spoilers – see it and enjoy!
A little more attention to the transitions between the stories, which felt underdone and could have been more finessed (possibly a legacy of Szifron’s episodic TV experience), and also to some of the finer details of the individual tales would’t go astray – but these are small things in a generally lighthearted piece that is the perfect way to wind up what will hopefully be another successful Spanish Film Festival.
Head to the Spanish Film Festival website for the full programme and to make bookings.