domingo, 15 de agosto de 2010
Influencia Borgeana en El Secreto de sus ojos. El laberinto que es Buenos Aires, sobrevuela la película. Según Guardian de Londres
The Secret In Their Eyes (El Secreto De Sus Ojos)
There is usually, and often with justification, serious criticism of the movie voted by the American Film Academy to receive its Oscar for best film in a foreign language. It happened again this year when the international critics' anointed contenders – Michael Haneke's The White Ribbon and Jacques Audiard's A Prophet – were ignored in favour of Juan José Campanella's The Secret in Their Eyes. Well, Haneke's picture is certainly more original and Audiard's altogether harsher, but Campanella's Argentinian thriller is a film of subtlety, distinction and depth that in most other years would have made it appear a very worthy recipient. Moreover, it seems an apt choice to mark what Sight & Sound celebrates on the front page of its September edition as "The Rise and Rise of Latin American Cinema" over the past decade.
The film's subject is the obsessive pursuit of a brutal murder long after its significance has faded into the past, a theme familiar from movies as different as Anatole Litvak's The Night of the Generals and Sean Penn's The Pledge, both based on bestselling European novels. In this instance, the crime is the rape and murder of a pretty schoolteacher recently married to a young bank clerk in Argentina in 1974 when the country was on the brink of its dirty war and dictatorship.
The case is investigated by a relatively junior policeman, the handsome, bearded, working-class Benjamín Espósito (Ricardo Darín), who 25 years later, having married, divorced and retired from the police, is trying to exorcise his memories by writing a novel based on the crime. He visits his former superior, the beautiful, upper-class lawyer Irene Menéndez Hastings (Soledad Villamil), now married with children and occupying a senior judicial post, to discuss the affair and show her an early draft of his book.
The movie then proceeds with immense narrative skill to cut between past, present, fictionalised memories, plausible conjecture and unverifiable accounts as it puts together a complex jigsaw linking private lives and troubled social currents over a period of a quarter of a century. Running through the film as a leitmotif to suggest the idea of secrets revealed and concealed, of stories within stories, are references to the opening and closing of doors and shots of people seen through doorways.
When Benjamín is first introduced to Irene, and instantly smitten by her, he's told by the officious head of their department that she's recently graduated from Harvard. She immediately corrects him by saying she studied at Cornell, a crucial distinction it seems. This is possibly an oblique nod by Campanella and his co-writer Eduardo Sacheri (on whose novel the film is based) to Vladimir Nabokov, a longtime teacher at Cornell, and Thomas Pynchon, a student there, two great modernists fascinated by unreliable narrators and the interlocking of fact and fiction. Their influence, along with that of Jorge Luis Borges, the guide to the labyrinth that is Buenos Aires, hovers over the film.
The first revelation of a pervasive corruption comes when Benjamín's rightwing rival beats murder confessions from two innocent immigrant workers. This is more than confirmed when the real perpetrator is freed after conviction on the grounds that he's a valued freelance informer and operator, presumably for police death squads. Between these incidents there is an ingeniously conducted investigation by Benjamín and his brilliant, ironic, alcoholic sidekick that takes them (via an inspired reading of snaps in the victim's photograph album and clues spotted in letters illegally seized in a provincial town) to an exciting chase in a football stadium.
Along the way, the movie develops two very touching and disturbing parallels that continue over the arc of 25 years. The first is the close relationship between Benjamín the investigator and Ricardo, the grieving widower of the murdered schoolteacher, whose life is shaped and corroded by the pursuit of the killer. Both are obsessed with a search for justice, one public, the other private, and end up confronting the moral consequences of submitting to this tunnel vision.
The second parallel, of a romantic and erotic kind, is that between Ben and the remote Irene on the one hand, and its ugly mirror image, that between the killer and his victim on the other. In one of the movie's most powerful scenes, an interrogation of the suspected killer, Irene cruelly brings her sexuality and social superiority into play as a means of driving him into making a confession. Later, the rightwing policeman who has been a constant thorn in Ben's side mocks him over the unattainable Irene in an attempt to provoke him into an act of violence.
There are occasional moments of implausibility in Campanella's film, but they're more than outweighed by the emotional force of the narrative and its incidental felicities. The latter include a running joke about an old Olivetti typewriter that has a faulty "A" on its keyboard, and a note made in the night by Benjamín on his bedside table that reads "Temo" (I fear) which he later corrects into "Te Amo" (I love you). Both central performances are excellent, the pair ageing convincingly, and they're well supported by Guillermo Francella as Benjamín's assistant and Pablo Rago as the inconsolable husband of the murder victim. The excellent atmospheric photography is the work of Félix Monti, who in 1985 lit Luis Puenzo's The Official Story, an earlier picture about the time of Argentina's dirty war and "los desaparecidos", which also won an Oscar for best foreign language film.
Fuente : Philip French - guardian.co.uk
15 de agosto de 2010