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Recensione: La espera


- F. Javier Gutiérrez combina folk horror, western, film di vendetta e tragedia biblico-diabolica nel suo terzo film, pieno di immagini polverose, sanguinose e molto sudate

Recensione: La espera
Víctor Clavijo in La espera

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We are in luck here in Spain with the return of F Javier Gutiérrez, a filmmaker from Cordoba who debuted in feature films fifteen years ago with Before The Fall, an apocalyptic film that went to the Berlinale and won awards for best screenplay and film at the Malaga Festival. He then emigrated to the United States, where he joined a famous and terrifying franchise with Rings (2017). Now he has filmed The Wait [+leggi anche:
intervista: F. Javier Gutiérrez
scheda film
in dusty locations in his hot homeland. The film has been presented at festivals such as Sitges, Vancouver and Fantastic Fest, among others, before being screened in the Andalusian Panorama section of the 20th Seville Film Festiva.

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Starring Víctor Clavijo from Cadiz (a magnificent actor who already appeared in Gutiérrez's debut film), supported by an equally impressive Ruth Díaz, Manuel Morón, Luis Callejo and Pedro Casablanc, The Wait is both a social critique and a family tragedy. Shot with a powerful use of the panoramic, detailing in the composition of each shot and the ochre photography courtesy of Miguel Ángel Mora, he sets up his camera with close-ups not only of human faces, but also of animals, plants and objects, like the brilliant Charles Laughton in The Night of the Hunter.

Its plot, shocking, brutal and furious, is not suitable for the ultra-sensitive. During the 1970's in Andalusia, Eladio, a humble and uneducated country man, who lives on the farm he looks after with his wife and only son, is commissioned by the cacique owner to organise a hunt. But, shortly before, someone offers to break his basic safety rules - so that there will be more participants in the hunt - in exchange for extra money. This simple gesture of self-betrayal will unleash a tragedy of unstoppable proportions.

What follows is an intense experience, a fateful descent into the hells of self-destruction with a final act that abandons reality to plunge into the most fiendish and furious of nightmares. Yes, The Wait is part of the horror genre, but it is also part of the revenge genre, it has the air of a western and much of the biblical tragedy of a martyr struck down by guilt (so it is not hard to find religious inspiration in its images).

But most of all, The Wait is a violent, dry and effective thriller, with a murky mystery to be solved. It keeps the viewer on edge as they try to decipher the clues that the protagonist uncovers as the film progresses, while being impressed by images, presences, sounds and other disturbing elements. The film manages to entertain and intrigue by drawing on various cinematographic references: from The Holy Innocents (the submission of the employees to the landowners, as in the classic by Mario Camus adapted from Miguel Delibes) to Angel Heart (Eladio's interviews with the cacique mirror Mickey Rourke's meetings with Robert de Niro in Alan Parker's film), via The Hunt by Carlos Saura and Poachers by José Luis Borau and 1980s horror films by John Landis and Neil Jordan.

The Wait is film from Spal Films in association with the American Unfiled Films and Nostromo Pictures. Its international sales are managed by Film Factory and it will be distributed in Spain by Spal Films, which will release it in Spanish cinemas on 15 December.

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