Review: Rendir los machos
- David Pantaleón makes his debut as a feature film director with a piece built up as a series of beautiful tableaux vivants, with a story inspired by traditions and rituals
Rendir los machos [+see also:
film profile], the first film directed by David Pantaleón (Gran Canaria, 1978), saw its world premier at the 18th Edition of the Seville European Film Festival, coinciding with the opening of the New Waves section, one of the most daring and cutting-edge of the contest, run by the restless José Luis Cienfuegos, always up to date with trends and emerging talent, backed up by a team with the same levels of daring, commitment and curiosity.
With a script –not lacking in irony– by Pantaleón and Amos Milbor, Rendir los machos (with a cast of some professional actors and others less so) portrays the conflict between two brothers who, after the death of their father, need to carry out a peculiar mission together: to move seven male goats across wild, arid land and hand them over to their utmost rival. On this journey, naturally, things happen tat will turn the original situation around. And along the way, the audience will enjoy the beauty – a far cry from picture postcards – of some incredible corners of Fuerteventura and Tenerife.
The Canary Islands is also de backdrop for part of the action in They Carry Death [+see also:
interview: Samuel M Delgado and Helena…
film profile], by Samuel M. Delgado and Helena Girón, a film in which Pantaleón was involved as an actor, as he also did in White on White [+see also:
interview: Théo Court
film profile], by Théo Court, films that also manage to overcome that tired stereotype of locations being another character. On this occasion, there is even something magical in the use of that well-known flying object, the drone, can play a role in aesthetic harmony (in particular a sequence that makes use of the power of the shadows created by sunlight, over particularly stunning two-tone waters), in line with the rest of the narrative, ceases to be an abusive display for airborne acrobatics, as we have seen a great deal in recent times whenever the action takes place in “incomparable settings”.
Above all, the great value of Rendir los machos lies in the construction of sequences, on those static planes that, set out in the form of tableaux vivants, transform the cinema screen into a huge stage, with natural scenery (with some slight touch-ups) through which these two men travel. That is the greatest virtue and yet the most obvious fault in this film: as you bathe in the serene beauty, it is sometimes too static and contemplative– can make you start to drop off.
(Translated from Spanish by Alexandra Stephens)
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