Thursday, 12 July 2012

El Alma de las Moscas

Or The Soul of Flies to give El Alma de las Moscas its English title, is a film written and directed by Jonathan Cenzual Burley and centres on the journey by two brothers who have never met before, who must journey together to the funeral of a father they never knew.

The brothers meet at a train station, where to their surprise the train has not gone by in years.  It is the beginning of a journey through barren landscapes punctuated by chance encounters with offbeat and weird characters that inhabit these wastelands.

Eventually, the brothers learn more about themselves and each other through these interactions with these odd ball people.

That is the general gist of the film, and the film does have the appeal of magical realism that typically Latin generic eccentricity and yet the production is a victim of its techncial accomplishments.  Shot on high definition with just one camera, a microphone and a tripod with a production crew of 7 who muscled all together - the film is imprisoned by these technical restraints.

The actors seem to wander aimlessly throughout in a state of purgatory; some harsh critics have said the film is banal - such a word makes the film seem unwatchable.  The only problem for a film that is Spanish is that it is not thrilling or have any Latin exhilaration coursing through its veins.  Even the beauty of the La Armuna in Salamanca is not used to great effect; with no great photography utilised you get a sense that this is anywhere in Spain not identifying as a region would have been of benefit.

Recently, I have watched American independent films revolve around the same discourse of troubled brothers working together for a common goal.  This film has the right idea, perhaps the message has just been lost in translation which is unfortunate considering the initial one is a good, waiting to be let loose on a larger scale model.

El Alma de Las Moscas is out on limited release on Friday 13th July

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