Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Wild Tales.

Six standalone short films make up the Argentinian anthology Wild Tales (2014) a movie that turned out to be the most successful film in the history of Argentinian cinema. It was nominated for a string of awards including Best Foreign Language film at the 2014 Academy Awards. With competition coming from the likes of Leviathan, Tangerines and the eventual winner the Polish entry Ida I’m not surprised that it did not win but if there was an award for the best foreign language comedy it certainly would of won in that category.

All six of the stories have been directed and written by Damian Szifron an Argentine born film and television director and screenwriter best known as the creator of the TV series Los Simuladores (2002) about a small team of con artists for hire, who use their skills to solve common peoples life problems.  Each of the six stories in this modern day satire are linked by a common theme of vengeance and violence and been described as ‘wickedly hilarious and delightfully deranged’[1] something I would not disagree with.

Passengers on an airplane journey discover that they all connected in some way to a man called Pasternak who has made sure that each of them are on the same flight. Further enquiries reveal that Pasternak is the planes pilot and he has locked himself in the cabin.

Las Ratas (The Rats)
loan shark stops at a small highway restaurant. The young waitress recognises the man who ruined her life and the life of her family. She refuses the cook's offer to mix rat poison in his food, but the cook adds the poison anyway.  

El mas fuerte (The Strongest)
The most brutal of the stories is a road rage incident - that could be termed as a life threatening - occurs on a lonely desert road involving two very different men. It ends with what the police see as a crime of passion – but is it?

Bombita (Little Bomb)
This is my favourite of the six stories. It involves Simon Fischer (Ricardo Darin) who stops to pick up his daughters birthday cake and has his car towed away too a pound where he has to pay a fee to retrieve it as well as a parking fine. Insisting that his car was not on a restricted parking area he argues with the company and ends up attacking the glass partition between company operative and the public. I know how he feels, it happened to me once. This action leads to circumstances that are outside his control and threatens to change his life. Did I mention that Simon was a demolition expert?

La Propuesta (The Proposal)
 A teenager, in his father's car, arrives home after being involved in a hit-and-run knocking over a pregnant woman. On the local news, the woman and child are reported dead, and her husband swears vengeance. But the boy’s family refuses to allow him to take responsibility.

Hasta que la muerte nos separe (Until Death Do Us Part)
Certainly the funniest of the six is the story of the party following a couples wedding. The fun really starts when the bride discovers that her newly wed husband has been having sex with one of his invited guests. Which you can imagine leads to some traumatic festivities. It’s certainly my kind of wedding!

This is a subversive black comedy that I cannot recommend highly enough. Each of the stories is superbly directed, acted and shot by cinematographer Javier Julia. While watching these I guarantee that you like me will feel a little guilty laughing at mishaps that befall some of the characters on display, but please don’t be - just sit back and enjoy.

[1] Rotten Tomatoes Critic Consensus.

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