Friday, August 19, 2005

Viva la muerte (Arrabal, 1971)

Glad to know that I can still be shocked by a film. If you're jonesing for some Jodorowsky, his kindred spirit, Fernando Arrabal will do in a pinch. His first film, Viva La Muerte, which concerns a young boy whose father has been turned in to the government for his leftist political leanings, is equal parts beautiful and sickening. The film is split between scenes that further the plot (such as it as) in a somewhat conventional manner and scenes which explode into surreal, often nightmarish visions of the way the boy sees those around him. After the boy learns the identity of the person that betrayed his father, these sequences (which Arrabal tints in bold saturated colors) become increasingly vicious and eventually bleed over into 'reality'. Viva La Muerte is a horrifying vision of political cruelty as seen through the eyes of a child. A remarkably brave accomplishment.

Note: Viva La Muerte contains a scene of animal butchery that makes the pig slaughter in Weekend look like Nintendo's Duck Hunt. Those who do not wish to view such images should probably steer clear.



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