Monday, July 07, 2008

El Otro (The Other)

I really was looking forward to be able to see this movie and I tried not to have expectations as most of the time when you do, you tend to be disappointed. But knowing that the movie won the Jury Grand Prix at the 2007 Berlinale I was expecting an extraordinary movie.

This Ariel Rotter film is not bad but it is not extraordinary as there is something missing in his quiet and slow narrative that tells about a middle age crisis of a quiet man that finds relief when he goes out of the city for work and escapes his reality assuming different personalities motivated by his bus companion that dies when they arrive to their traveling destination. We travel with him to his inner and outer feelings without much dialogue or motivation, besides the obvious fear of death and the tiredness of his life routine than soon will be disrupted by the birth of his first child and even the death of his father that now behaves like a child.

I find the story idea outstanding since the last year Berlinale and I can imagine how good it must be to be able to be someone else even if is for a few moments. But I believe that the director passed an extraordinary opportunity and decided to go the simple but uninteresting way. So, what is missing? A good storyteller.

By the way I have seen other movies from Argentina that explore abandoning for a while the main character reality and the storytelling has been more compelling even when the films were much less arty.

Still, I watched the entire movie because the cinematography, framing, camera moves, great outdoor takes and the desolated streets captivated me and make me feel at ease, peaceful, perhaps as much as the main character was feeling. If this movie is mood or experimental cinema –where stories are not that important- then I have to admit that the movie transported me to a state of bliss and I thank the director for this. But then I do not think so, as there was too much dialogue and the flow of the scenes suggest not to really be mood or experimental cinema.

Obviously not for all audiences and if you decide to give this arty movie a try you should prepare yourself to see a great succession of images that will make you feel good, but do not expect good storytelling.

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