Refined game of truth and fiction in the virtuosic unravelling of a mysterious serial killer’s life story. Every cinematic stylistic is upended and yet the film remains consistent. Villaronga collaborated with two young co-directors.
Aro Tolbukhin, one of the most notorious serial killers of the 20th century, was reportedly born in Hungary and is soon to face a firing squad in Guatemala. Shortly before the execution, he grants an interview to two journalists, who discover that some facts don’t add up. Aro Tolbukhin – In the Mind of a Killer is a bewitching essay in meta-cinema and deconstruction, in which all documentary footage is fake while the story, if not untrue, is certainly free of any factual basis – enter the grey zone.
Fittingly, the different temperaments, textures and temperatures of small gauge formats, video, digital and the celestial 35mm fuse into an ambiguously sensual whole. After every cinelinguistic trope is turned inside out and upside down, Aro Tolbukhin – In the Mind of a Killer finally reveals itself: as one long and heady death-trip, one man’s delirium about himself. –Rotterdam
He has been active as a director, screenwriter and actor since 1976. His oeuvre consists of four short films, five fiction films, two television films, two documentaries and two episodes for Spanish television series. Villaronga’s impressive full-length film debut Tras el cristal (1987) is still seen as a controversial work. He has also made strong films with a surreal edge, such as El nino de la luna (with a soundtrack by Dead Can Dance and a lead role for the band’s singer Lisa Gerrard, 1989), El mar (2000) and Aro Tolbukhin. En la mente del asesino (2002), all of which are bringing increasing international recognition for Villaronga’s work. His new film Pa negre (2010) had its premiere in competition at the San Sebastian film festival, and won a Silver Shell for actress Nora Navas. –Rotterdam