Steeped in an isolated Peruvian village that may or may not exist, the film feels more mythological than actual. The claustrophobia, grinding poverty, superstition, relentless diagetic music, and often surreal imagery with a descent into madness is a wicked brew. It's patient and sneaky. Story details are opaque, often rendered off screen. Who are these actors!? Shades of Bunuel. Unique, difficult, marvelous.
Really about 3.5. I remember reading an article on Catherine Breillat's "Fat Girl" and the writer stated that "Fat Girl" was not a horror film but a film about the horrible - the horrors of the human rather than the horrors of a masked psycho or a monster. This film is also about the horrible, about how we create our own Hells within which to commit the horrible deeds we are somehow driven to commit. Troubling.
I try to balance my ratings between craftsmanship and my level of enjoyment/involvement, but here I am so deeply unsatisfied with Llosa's nightmarish reverie that the filmmaking is of little consequence. I can't put my finger on it, but I am really bothered by what I have seen.
A sacrilegious film that fails to exploit its potential. The idea of a "tiempo santo," a time in which God does not see us because He is temporarily dead and thus sin does not exist, is original and disturbing. The plot, however, is far too weak. But it is thought-provoking and worth seeing. This is the kind of movie I expect to find on MUBI.
The story isn't anything new but it's given life by the fascinating culture that's on display. It was also pure eye candy as the lighting in some scenes was quite exquisite. And then came the ending. As if this film wasn't already very similar to the Wicker Man, they tack on a pointless ending that's meant to drive home a point that was already well established. To say the least, it ended with quite a sour note.
Claudia's film prior to the wonderful 'Milk of Sorrow'. More magic-realism meets twisted folklore and ritual absurdity. Some familiar faces with the main star from both films again, the wonderful Magaly Solier doing what she does best; timid, naive fear. This one whilst visually rich fell down in the second last act but then redeemed itself with a nice twist. 3 stars