23 September 2001 | khatcher-2
Avant Garde `Noire Fantastique' Thriller
Unclassifiable `cine negro' thriller mixing fantastic and reality in which life and death interplay with fate, the destiny which awaits, lurking malevolently behind each person who is not what he or she might appear to be.
Little by little, in the making of this film, they had to deviate from the original novel by Juan José Millas, such that in its final form it has little resemblance to the book. Somewhat hazardously the film progresses as the private eye (Carmelo Gómez) becomes obsessed and paranoid, constantly invaded by his recurring dream of his own death, such that in the end, logically, he goes out of his mind. But all this is a vehicle or an axis around the central character, and is where the film maintains Millas' story-line, in that it is a kind of interior monologue of Sofía (María Casal), a cultured and sophisticated cellist, who becomes somewhat alienated from herself and others around her after the death of her mother (Asunción Balaguer).
The film becomes an abstract surrealism bordering on the phantasmagorical in dreaming sequences, such that the interrelating thread between the different persons in the film becomes almost secondary, as does indeed the story-line such as it is.
Exellent José Nieto: his score is the exact echo or shadow of the scenes, as well as the pieces played by the musicians in their rehearsals. Nieto has long been one of the two best composers for Spanish films and TV programmes of all kinds. The other is Antón García Abril.
Bold, somewhat imaginitive film-making, a high-risk shot at cuasi-avant garde cinema, this is not one of your classic detectivesque run-of-the-mill films, and as such will only appeal to minority audiences. It does have its fascination as the complex intertwined scenes develop, but it might be necessary to see this film two or three times to be able to grasp exactly where it is going. I should say, just about unique in Spanish film-making. Imanol Uribe is evidently a director with some very original concepts to offer. Very curious