Posts Tagged ‘Locarno74’

Zahori (2021) Locarno Film Festival

Dir: Mari Alessandrini | Chile, France, Swiss | Drama, 105′

In the rugged windswept remoteness of the Patagonian Pampas a lonely girl vows to avenge the macho menfolk by becoming a gaucho in this deeply sorrowful Western, a feature debut for Mari Alessandrini.

Life is tough for 13 year old Mora (a gentle Lara Tortosa) in the remote community where she lives with her unsupportive Swiss Italian parents, who are ecologists, and younger brother. There don’t seem to be many girls her age so she helps her father grow vegetables and makes friends with some of the animals on long walks across the desiccated landscape full of beetles and armadillos (that she plans to roast) and the occasional condor swirling overhead. Here she meets a Mapuche who gives her a brace of river trout as a gift, her disgruntled vegetarian parents refusing to touch them.

But deep-seated resentment and hostility dogs this outwardly peaceful existence, and it soon emerges that everyone harbours a savage mistrust of their neighbour, a product of the harsh terrain: Mora’s parents seem miserable; brigands plague the locals at night stealing livestock and a beautiful white horse belonging  to Mora’s Mapuche pal – the half-blind Nazareno (Curapil) who offers a vain reward for the recapture of his lifelong ‘friend’. But the horse seems to represent a freedom that the Mora can only dream of. Meanwhile two ludicrous American missionaries fetch up to proselytise and annoy everyone, but are given short shrift by the locals.

Chloe Zhao’s Oscar-winning feature The Rider, clearly inspired  Alessandrini although this is a more mournful, enigmatic feature that captures the remoteness of the wild locations, and the essence of the Mapuche, an endangered native of Patagonia and Southern Argentina.

Handling her material with confidence, Alessandrini knowns how to create tension with a lightness of touch in this alienated place at the edge of the world. With a simple score of guitar folk music and some old Italian hits from the Sixties this is a thoughtful and visually evocative portrait of a troubled community struggling to survive against the odds amid hardship and spiritual discontent. MT

LOCARNO FILM FESTIVAL 2021

 

Hinterland (2021) Locarno Film Festival 2021

Dir: Stefan Ruzowitzky | Austria, Noir Thriller 

Germany and Austria have been brought to their knees after gruelling defeat in the Great War and limp home broken to a decadent Vienna amidst poverty, despair – and a serial killer on the loose – in this stylish noir thriller from Austrian director Stefan Ruzowitzky.

In the opening scenes a ship glides by laden with dead and mutilated soldiers, the living barely alive against a photographed atmospheric if rather stagey back-cloth of utter devastation setting the scene for a desperate homecoming, only to discover their surviving comrades are being preyed upon by a grisly murderer as the story unfolds.

Wonky German expressionistic framing and a sombre mood creates a jagged-edged rather quaint feeling echoing M by Fritz Lang or even Grimms’ Fairy tales, suffused with Klimt’s Secessionist jewel-like paintings transporting us rather evocatively back to early 1920s Vienna where a mood of mistrust prevails. The background photograph technique works wonders in conjuring up the contrast between doom and the squalid splendour of the Austrian capital. But our war hero Peter Perg (Murathan Muslu) is still haunted by the nightmarish terror of the trenches looming up in dream sequences on the vast wall behind his bed.

Against a climate of anarchy and political unrest brewing in the Vienna’s tea rooms Peter teams up with the Poirot-like Detective Renner (Marc Limpach) and pathologist Theresa Korner (Liv Liese Fries) to try and fathom a motive for the horrific murders  – one particularly gruesome corpse has been decapitated and flayed with a cat o nine tails, another pierced with 19 stakes. But the team’s interest focuses on in the iniquitous murder of Perg’s war-wounded comrades Captain Krainer who appears to have been garrotted by the roaming psychopath, and as their investigations widen Peter becomes a victim himself in this evocatively seedy but highly enjoyable murder mystery. MT

LOCARNO FILM FESTIVAL 2021

 

Copyright © 2022 Filmuforia