Monday, October 17, 2011

LFF: Deep South Drama

Still from Hard LaborTwo dramas from South America were among my recent viewing. Hard Labor (dirs Juliana Rojas / Marco Dutra) is a Brazilian dramedy which is part social critique and part horror film, as a bourgeois couple face the dual challenges of starting a business (her) and finding a new job following redundancy (him). Their financial pinch doesn't stop them from hiring a maid, and the three characters orbit each other, illustrating class conflict and thwarted aspirations. The horror aspect is downplayed, serving more as a metaphor for oppressive working conditions than anything else. An intriguing oddity.

Ostende (dir Laura Citarella), from Argentina, is a slow-burning character study of a woman on holiday whose propensity for observation fires her imagination to wild proportions, as she conjures up all manner of explanations for the older man who appears to be squiring two young women. What could he be up to? And has she really thwarted a kidnapping? This is the only film I've yet viewed whose closing credit sequence changes how one views the rest of the film. Still not sure whether I liked it or not, though.

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