When There’s No Forever (Film Thoughts: Los Fuertes/The Strong Ones)

Two souls passing in the night – this genre of love story always gets me. In Oscar Zuniga’s ‘Los Fuertes,’ this story is set in picturesque Southern Chil, Valdivia to be exact, and the gorgeous setting enhances the story of two people meeting, falling for each other knowing that this probably will not be forever. This film is a testament to enjoying the connections we have right now.

 

And that’s it, that is basically the plot of the film. While at first the simplicity made me want a little bit more, I enjoyed the simple subtleties in the characters’ connections. It helps that the two leads, played by Samuel Gonzales and Antonio Altamirano have chemistry for days. You see them and you really believe these two souls are in love with each other. I love the small intimate details – the pregnant glances, the way one massages the other’s scalp while the other is sleeping – these may be minute, but they contribute to the overall feel of the film. And it makes the ending more poignant, and touching. 

Through The Fire (Film Thoughts: Ema)

ema-chilean-movie-poster-md‘Ema,’ directed by Pablo Larrain is a visual treat. And that’s a good thing, because the narrative is a bit on the confusing side. Mariana di Girolamo plays the titular character and is a dancer, married to Gaston (Gael Garcia Bernal) They adopted a child, and in the beginning of the film, we learn that they have returned him to Child Protective Services – we learn the child has had problems with them, freezing their cat and burning the face of Ema’s sister. But we learn there may be more to that – Gaston seems to be impotent, and Ema is establishing some kind of relationship with a woman and a man, both of whom, we learn later, have very specific relationship to the child they adopted. All in this swirls in fire and color, and a lively reaggaton soundtrack. The film is relentlessly watchable, and always fascinating, even if at times you never really know where the story is going, or have been. But it rarely matters – ‘Ema’ is a character study of a someone who is unapologetically strong – even when you don’t agree or sympathize with her, she is always up and front of you, and you will not help but be mesmerized by her.

Christmas Cocktail (Film Thoughts: Cola de Mono)

MV5BNWNhMGJhNTAtN2NhZi00NzRlLTkwMWItOWZlZWE4ZjcxZDZhXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMzcyODUxOQ@@._V1_‘Cola de Mono’ is set at Christmastime, but it’s really not your typical Hallmark Christmas movie. It’s a little bit dark and very very gay.  The title is based on a drink that Chileans prepare for the Holidays, and the term is also a gay slur. The film is a about a set of brothers who both come to terms with their sexuality on Christmas Eve. The theme is on the dark side, and even though I had read the film labeled as a thriller, I was very surprised by the turn if events towards the latter part of the film. It is also quite explicit, and director Alberto Fuguet definitely has a very specific point of view that he slaps into the film. I thought it was a very interesting film, even if I really did not enjoy it in the sense that it wasn’t a feel-good kind of film. It’s a little offfbeat for the Christmas season, but offbeat doesn’t necessarily mean bad.