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Critics reviews
Viola
Matías Piñeiro Argentina, 2012
Whereas most filmmakers taking on Shakespeare find inspiration (rightly or wrongly) in his dramas, this modest, sly Argentinean has unlocked the cinematic possibilities of the comedies, reveling in the potential of their artifice to delight and transport us, and even, perhaps, to teach us something, across a span of ages, about living and working in love.
April 01, 2015
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It’s misguided to term the movie you’re about to watch as “Matías Piñeiro’s Viola” or, say, “Viola (Matías Piñeiro, Argentina)” He’s the guide of the movie, the writer-director, but he doesn’t own it. Once written, he gives it over to his actors, a regular ensemble of supremely gifted players mostly trained in theater, and collectively, they make the movie together. Viola, like everything they’ve made before, is a group project with no true author. The auteur theory itself is challenged here.
March 25, 2014
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What [a viewer less open to the film’s nearly free-associative way of thinking] would be missing is the real substance behind Viola’s initially inscrutable array of poetic linkages: the idea that intellectual schemas, logical formulas and habitual modes of interpreting the world are only there to distract us from the inestimable value to be found in “merely” luxuriating in surface pleasures.
July 19, 2013
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Viola is only a little over an hour long, and while its concerns superficially mirror those of the French New Wave—Rohmer’s teasing philosophical inquiries, Rivette’s conflation of cinema and theater—Piñeiro seems content to merely float a few intriguing ideas rather than diligently follow through on any aspect in particular. It’s a pleasant, negligible wisp of a movie, notable mostly for what it suggests of its director’s potential.
July 16, 2013
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The way Piñeiro structures his film is disorienting, but there’s something intoxicating in his ability to layer themes upon themes without resorting to conventional movie comforts. This is felt most effectively in an early scene, when Sabrina (Elisa Carricajo) and Cecilia (Agustina Munoz), respectively “Olivia” and “Viola,” rehearse their lines in Sabrin’a apartment.
July 16, 2013
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Viola’s hour-long running time contains little in the way of plot or action, and its only major event concerns the duplicitous efforts of a young woman to seduce her colleague in order to prove a point about romance and attraction, confined to a single sequence. And yet the world the film describes is so vividly realized that it seems to spill over the edges of the frame, as if the lives of its characters will continue after the credits roll.
July 10, 2013
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Piñeiro unearths every bit of thought and feeling contained in this mercurial feature’s brief running time, from the melancholy images of Viola pedaling her bike through the city to the free rein he gives his mostly female ensemble to create memorably individuated characters. (A brilliant rehearsal scene between two troupe members—very Rivette-like in its conception and execution—suggests depths of emotion that go far beyond the words being read.)
July 08, 2013
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Piñeiro’s brief career is already one to watch (as the phrase goes), genuinely striking out in new directions that have been compared to Rohmer and Rivette but which feel novel (and certainly ask you to watch closely).
July 03, 2013
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Viola is a film fascinated by roles and how one gets in and out of them, just like the journey of the movie naturally finds its own fictions. This musical construction allows it to keep its own lightness and grace. Piñeiro seems to be open to every and any situation, exploring them while searching for new possible configurations for the movie.
May 28, 2013
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This sensation of pleasant confusion recurs throughout Viola, which might be described as an ensemble romantic comedy but at the same time doesn’t seem beholden to any genre. Argentinean director Matías Piñero’s sophomore feature dares to disorient its audience from the first scene onward. But it’s not an obtuse film. Although it is filled with mysteries, it is not asking to be decoded. Instead, Viola invites us to submit to its pleasures, which are ample and ultimately very simple.
April 19, 2013
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[A] triumph of narrative imagination and bottom-line ingenuity, “Viola” looks as if it were made for pocket change, a detail that becomes less noticeable with every kink in the story line. That alone makes it required viewing for everyone who attends or teaches film school, though really, this miniature delight is a knot made for all to untie.
March 26, 2013
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In essentially offering up The Twelfth Night as a hazy Shakespearean mash-up,Viola isn’t so much deeply disrespecting notions of ownership, authorship, etc., as charitably redefining them.
March 18, 2013
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The primary value of Piñeiro’s film, which stands in the best tradition of Rivette’s work – I couldn’t help but think of L’Amour fou (1968) and La Bande des quatre (1989) while watching Viola – is that it transforms our ideas of what the cinema can do, of what the cinema can be. We simply cannot ask for more from a film.
March 17, 2013
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Viola is a talky movie, and its eroticism (for lack of a better word) is in its language and in its shifting compositions of faces. Piñeiro seems to have found a new form to express the classic love triangle. The closest formal analogy I can think of is the café and tram sequences in Jose Luis Guerin’s In the City of Sylvia (2007), in which faces fold into and out of one another at different depths of field.
November 24, 2012
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Lines from several Shakespeare plays are apparently integrated across all of the film’s dialog, yet the it retains a sinuous ensemble of lovely, highly acute and intelligent performances that are able to flow between quotations, rehearsals, repetitions, and ostensibly normal dramatic dialog with a beguiling naturalness.
September 14, 2012
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All of these individualists living like monads, trying to succeed in love and art, end up mixing into a symbolic orgy, where film and theatre, men and women, music and literature, work and leisure, dating and talking, are molded into a single entity. In film after film, Piñeiro has increasingly perfected this act of magic, and Viola is his most outstanding film to date.
September 01, 2012
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