Sunday, May 20, 2007

Spanish Film Festival 2

Mariposa Negra (Black Butterfly, Francisco Lombardi, 2006)
Despite all the effort that goes into planning what to see at a film festival, it seems unavoidable to sometimes finding oneself in a darkened cinema thinking "what the hell am I doing here?". This mediocre film by Peruvian director Lombardi has the dubious distinction of being my worst film of the year so far (followed closely by the Italian film Il Mio Miglior Nemico or My Best Enemy by Carlo Verdone). From five minutes into the film, I could have walked out at any time.

From what I could tell, the film was shot digitally, and as many of the scenes were set at night or in the dark, it looked scratchy at best. On top of that, the film appeared to be screened from a DVD. So the visuals were poor, making it hard to engage with the film. That, however, really was the least of the film's problems.

The film was promoted as a drama/thriller. It was of telemovie-quality at best. The real problem was the writing. It started off with some promise. Some of the characters looked interesting, though the main protagonist was impossibly young and beautiful. A woman is planning her marriage only to find her magistrate husband has been murdered, apparently a political killing in Peru.

The film initially cuts between time frames trying artificially to be sophisticated, but in actuality it ended up being confusing without competence. Once we've ascertained who the main players are, the relationships between them and what the general plot is about, the film's writing takes a real dive towards Neighbours-like quality. This young chicky babe is able to insinuate herself into the depths of political and criminal intrigue and achieve exploits worthy of Agent 007, except for the end, as if this is somehow meant to indicate it's a serious piece of art.

The acting was mediocre, the visuals as described and the writing was embarrassing. I really wish films like this would not make it to a film festival like this, because they discourage attendances. Better to have a smaller number of good films that showcase what a country can produce.

Spanish Film Festival \ IMDB

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