Ramírez (2008 )

“Ramírez” (2008 )

Festival Sitges


Unframed (no) narrative

I watched this in the Sitges festival, so i was able to be at a post screening in whitch the director was presented. When asked about his cinematic references, he indicated that Bresson’s ‘Pickpocket’ was a sort of loose guide to this work. I believe him, i believe he was being honest and that felt the inclination to follow that work. But i don’t think this film has so much to do with the kind of visual work Bresson did.

This is nested in a kind of narrative that brings out daily apparently uninteresting actions, and tries to exploit a character and the subsequent dynamics of his behaviour from there. It has been done, in relatively recent years, by some directors. It probably had a seed in the work of Godard, in the 60′, but back than he and his new wave friends were worried about other issues and didn’t pay attention to that specific thread they were opening. To contemporary eyes, this kind of daily actions conducted narrative was probably best mastered by Pedro Costa, starting with his ‘Ossos’, who has since mastered that dark corner of a universe he created for himself. The danish Dogma had a word on this as well, but i think in the way they got lost in their own self-imposed rules.

Curiously, so far the examples we have only contemplate stories centered around one character, who has to be weird or obsessed enough to make the thing work. That’s the case here: sexually moved serial killer, also a drug dealer, disguised as an artist. Mother related unsolved issues. The action occurs between Madrid and Segovia, city-country opposition, i suppose, also the reason to place a sense of journey, endless path that involves most of the cinematic characterization of a serial killer.

I was impressed to find out this was an independent production. I knew very little about the film before i watched it, and when i heard it was made under very strict budgets, i was deeply impressed. The artistic work is quite solid, sober in a way i really appreciate, and the use of the city (Madrid) was quite good. Concrete enough to allow us to recognize it, but abstract enough not to let us fall into clichés and deviate from what mattered. It’s difficult to see that.

What diminished the experience to me was what usually does it with Costa’s films. I don’t think a contemporary film, made today for today’s publics has to obey to a classic story form of intro-development-climax-conclusion, but it should go somewhere. Not narratively, not that it had to happen something on the facts of the story, but on the visual side, or any other thing. It was safe to leave the film as it was, because it didn’t imply taking the risk of making it something else. The answer for what i’m saying is, in quite different forms, can be found in Wenders, Antonioni, and in a different plan, in Herzog, a master in capturing madness, or better still, finding it in us, the viewers. The first two is/was masters in raising questions on us out of visual stillness, or visual succession, or visual twisting, framing… This are their abilities, they would produce films out of no logical, or at least interesting stories, but they would open our visual mind. If i refer them, is because i missed that subtlety here.

The main actor as well wouldn’t be enough to make the thing happen, without top class visual/mental manipulation. He is not untalented, but he probably was miscast. He cannot carry a character with as many characters on himself as this Ramirez.

My opinion: 3/5 still worth it, despite the weaknesses.

This comment on IMDb


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