Friday, November 16, 2007

Ladrones (Thieves)

This very interesting first feature film by Jaime Marques-Olarreaga is quite a surprise as brings an unexpected lyricism to the most far away from lyric theme, picking pockets. It tells the story of Alex that just left a children’s home, finds a job as a hairdresser, but fails temptation and falls into a trade that was learnt as very young kid when he was the picking pocket companion of his mother. There are two parallel stories that converge in Alex, one is about he looking to find his mother and the other is about looking for a theft partner. That’s more or less the outline of the story.

But to me this is a very intense story about seduction. I do not know about you readers, but I just love seduction stories (not only stories!) and this is one of the most outstanding seduction stories I have seen. Not only because it is not a sex or love seduction, but because this seduction is like a ballet beautifully danced between the cat and the mouse, the predator and the pray, the seducer and the seduced. With a climax cleverly placed at almost the end of the movie that allows you to be titillated almost the complete movie. Of course, they burn; all seductions have to end in burning. I was just exhausted when the movie was over!

Then a good seduction story is nothing without a great storyteller that uses medium shots, fix camera, very good slow motion scenes in the right places, great framing and composition in the most inhospitable urban places, very little dialogue mostly actors expressions, slow pace to allow you to feel everything little by little, and at moments very interesting editing. The music is wisely used to complement the scenes mood and increase the titillating effect. Also very good performances by the leads, especially Juan Jose Ballesta that plays a blank face Alex.

The movie was received with not so good reviews, but I find that all have something in common, they only talk about the evident storyline the picking pockets, the kid looking for his mother and what they call romance between the leads. Some even call it pretentious. However reviews in Spanish are a little different and even when the movie is still in the festival circuit, it has already won awards in the 2007 Locarno and Malaga Film Festivals.

Then there is always the possibility that I’m the only one seeing everything that I have told you! If that’s the case, I’m so glad I did as I enjoyed the movie a lot!

Not for all audiences, you have to like art movies.


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