18 December 2010 | elizabeth.matthews
Politics and psychology = successful black humor
"Pos-Mortem" won the 2nd Coral at the 2010 Havana film Festival, as well as acting prizes for two of the protagonists. It is a slow film, certainly, but builds up public and private tensions into a state of near-hysteria: violent scenes are suddenly deconstructed with moments of black humor -- clever and believable while upturning the viewers' anxiety. The political moment, the most dire in modern Chilean history, inserted into the dailiness of a job at a general hospital autopsy lab and morgue, shows both inexplicable social tragedy and, almost horribly, how familiarity with violent death almost, almost, breeds contempt. The quiet camera and murky grey lighting allow squarish, static settings to open slowly onto their meaning and context -- individual and historical; and the somewhat unsympathetic but not unappealing protagonist shows his true alienation and self-interest in a splendidly dark, comic finale. A clever, funny film with strong reminders of how the blackest history can repeat itself.