Carancho (2010)

“Carancho” (2010)

IMDb

inside, outside, bizarre, continuous flow

In the 60’s there was a phenomenon in Latin-American literature that is today reduced to the word “boom”. A very good number of writers throughout the continent began producing groundbreaking work, they broke every formula and introduced new possibilities to literature, unknown so far. Márquez, Rulfo, Llosa, and notably, in Argentina, Cortázar and Borges, among others. Today that trend still weaves its consequences (Chico Buarque has been a revelation as a writer, although Brazil is quite a different world). But i think that lately, those willing to explore new territories in narrative and storytelling have been working more in cinema. Márquez and Borges are 2 well known (and great!) film goers and critics. Anyway, Latin-American cinema today is the heir to the developments in Latin-American literature produced in the last 50 years. In the argentinean case, there was a major set-back in the country at the beginning of this century, corruption and incompetence led the country to bankruptcy, and the intellectual class rebels against that, so (like in Brazil!), argentinean cinema is usually densified by the social concerns of argentineans.

Literature and social context are, thus, the 2 great frames where a film like this is integrated.

And what a good film. The first thing done here is the establishment of a strange world, of people who live under different routines, performing different jobs, conquering the world in a different way, yet in the same sets of the ordinary “real” life, with which once in a while they intersect. The man, someone who chases people who’ve been run over by cars to collect the insurance money, and many times simulates the running over. The woman, who lives by night, as a doctor on site for first aid. And the insight into a corrupt underworld, where we only hint that somewhere close there are honest people. By itself this is a bizarre, tense, and cinematic world worth visiting. Over it, there is a layer of poetic sensitivity that eventually springs out of the male character, through his infatuation with the woman. So, on the core, we have a common story of a weak man who redeems himself because of love, but set in a strange repulsive yet fascinating world. This could be a short by Cortázar.

And on top of everything, the wheel that makes this world spin, is the boldness and visual power with which this is made. Practically every significant shot is enormous and without cuts. For how the camera is handled, we’re entering the vast beautiful tradition of Orson Welles (that from Touch of Evil) as interpreted by the incredible Alfonso Cuarón, notably on a huge film, Children of Men. This camera is unobtrusive yet manages to be on it should be. It knows everything that’s going to happen, and it plays with us to show us more often than not and off-field that’s puts us away from the action only to find us as unaware of what’s going on as every other character in the film. This is really top work, i don’t remember seeing this kind of visual grammar so well manipulated recently. Quite apart from the production obstacles of engineering such long shots, and the tough acting of these actors, with really fine performances, i was amazed at the level of manipulation employed, how this director and DOP understand the subtleties of the devices they use. I’ll want to see more of them. Anything.

Of all the sequences, the final 8 or 9 minutes are the best. See over and over again if possible, the last shot. *possible spoiler* the camera starts at a garage, goes on to the inside of a car, assists to a car crash, sees a street shooting, enters another car, to end up with yet another car crash. Without cuts, with a vividness and wildness with few precedents. What a ride!

My opinion: 4/5

This comment on IMDb

 

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