10 years in the making

Wild Tales | ArtHouse Crouch End

It’s what writer-director Szifrón calls ‘the undeniable pleasure of losing control’ and it’s certainly an undeniable pleasure to watch his film Wild Tales. At times it’s also very shocking, tense and difficult but most of all it’s laugh out loud, hilarious.
Here are six short films tied together by a common theme about how corruption, injustice, greed and revenge breed more of the same. And it’s hard to ignore in this dark satire on middle class society, the long dark shadow cast by Argentina’s recent past.
It’s about what happens when ordinary people are pushed beyond the limits of self control and polite society, morality, conventions and legal niceties are blown apart suddenly and irreversibly as events spiral unstoppably into madness. There is no emotion more viscerally necessary than revenge. And here revenge is portrayed with all the wonderful satisfaction it brings to those who plot it and carry it out. Revenge by the bullied, the jilted, the humiliated, the powerless. If you’ve ever been driven to distraction by bureaucracy, or been the victim of cowboy traffic wardens, or experienced the craziness of road rage, this film will be a truly cathartic experience. Making sense of the results of such destructive insanity is not easy, as the police who arrive at the scene of devastation in ‘The Strongest’ discover.
You can laugh at the extreme reactions of a group of characters caught up in emotions we all recognise, safe in the knowledge this is only a film. So the problem with the first story, ‘Pasternak’, is that while it starts as a very funny slow-dawning realisation of why everyone is together on a plane, we quickly become aware of the terrible coincidence with contemporary events. That can’t help but affect our reaction to the story, but it’s ‘The Proposal’ which is the darkest and cleverest of the tales, in which corruption, injustice and inequality are laid bare. The piece de resistance must surely be the last of the six stories, the hilarious ‘Til Death do us Part’ where all the paraphernalia of the perfectly planned wedding is systematically trashed by the vengeful newly-wed.
The cinematography is brilliant, the soundtrack outstanding and the acting superb, with a roll call of Argentine talent including Ricardo Darín, Leonardo Sbaraglia, Oscar Martinez and Erica Rivas. Co-produced by Almodóvar.
Whatever you do, don’t miss this one!