30 November 2016 | marac
Watching this movie was one of the most disturbing experiences I had recently. Not because of what I saw on screen, but because of what I did not see.
All descriptions of this movie that you can find online, tell you that this film is a documentary, supposedly telling the haunting story of a man who was randomly pointed out by corrupt authorities as guilty of killing some policemen and sentenced to 60 years in prison. The title "The Letters" refers to the letters he wrote from behind bars.
It is true that from time to time we hear some letter-fragments read to us by a narrator. But except from these random fragments, which would be completely meaningless for someone, who did not read the description beforehand, we learn nothing of the actual story. Instead, the film-makers feed us with long random shots of landscape, people staring pointlessly at the horizon, children wandering aimlessly here and there and so on. Instead of any commentary, we hear disturbing experimental music, which is actually the only good element of this movie, albeit only adding insult to the injury.
I understand that somebody may have a sick predilection for "arthousy" pretentious film-making. I really do. There are worse deviations in this world.
But using a real-world tragedy of an innocent imprisoned man as a mere excuse for making an 80-minute long random mix of prolonged camera shots, is a shame...
Everything we learn about the subject of this self-claimed "documentary" is from reading the description. Nothing in the movie itself directs the viewer to the point of these letter-fragments that are read from time to time or shots of bodies on the road.
In my humble opinion, the director of this movie deserves a strong kick in the butt for this cinematic insult. A really strong kick. Maybe next time he would use his brain before he feeds on some other tragedy as an - in his own eyes perfect - pretext for another piece of self-absorbed film-making diarrhea.
Unless the film-makers have nothing to do with these surrealistic descriptions of this movie, and as long the said descriptions have been planted by some wicked enemy of theirs. And these letter-fragments are fictitious and their movie does not pretend to be a documentary at all. In that case my sincere apologies and condolences.
As you can see, I rated this movie 2 out of 10 and such is my loathing for it that I feel the need to explain myself. These two points are for the already mentioned very good music and for clever editing. If not for these elements, I would rate it 0/10.
On a final note... I have seen recently another Mexican film called "Tempestad" by Tatiana Huezo. Go watch it, if you haven't seen it. This is a real documentary on tragedies of common people in Mexico. It is filmed and composed in a slightly similar manner, but at the same time it actually tells the stories that are there to be told and treats its subjects with respect, not as a pretext for a pointless poor-man's art-house movie exercise.