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quietearth [Celluloid 04.11.08] movie review scifi

Year: 2007
Release date: Unknown
Director: Esteban Sapir
Writer: Esteban Sapir
IMDB: link
Trailer: link
Review by: quietearth
Rating: 7.5 out of 10

La Antena has been playing every other film festival on the planet as of late it seems and was the first film chosen for both the opening and official competition at the International Film Festival Rotterdam in 36 years. It's easy to see why in both the trailer and pictures we have here. The design is quite stunning and one might even say somewhat influenced by the works of Guy Maddin. While I don't know if this is true, post production took more then a year to complete and it really shows with it's silent, black & white majesty. There's no question about it, on a chess level, this film is clearly a grandmaster.

The story is about a city (roughly 1950's based I think) where somehow all it's citizens lost their voice and oddly enough, they don't seem to care about the silence. We have Papa and his daughter Ana, who at the beginning of the film loses her grip on a rope holding some type of baloon man which I gathered to be some antena or advertisement. Interesting as this baloon man was he just seemed to drift off and wasn't explained any further.

Due to a delivery mishap from the evil villian "MR TV", Ana ends up with a pair of paper glasses with eyes on them. Down the block lives a young boy who has no eyes, and his mother is "LA VOZ" or the voice, the only person who can speak. MR TV has her sing this great Latino music, but all she wants is to get her son some eyes to see with. As you can probably guess MR TV has much more dastardly plans in store and is also responsible for the city losing it's voice.

The photography was great, and like I said post production took over a year and you can see why. Actors overlaying footage on film screens was used frequently, including with simple opaque cutouts. The words (in Spanish) were very boldly anchored on screen, and at many points, specifically towards the end, were interactive with objects and the actors. For instance, looking at someones watch would align the words with the hands then rotate with the time change, or MR TV would push a word out of the way when he was angry. He also blew a smoke ring which made the O in COMIENCE. Words were also aligned carefully around actors or coming out of a bullhorn, and I've barely even scratched the surface of the photographic ingenuity used in the film.

You're probably wondering, what is with the swastika? This isn't a Disney film, it's adult oriented and for whatever reason uses simple symbolism (although sparingly) to represent both good and evil. First we have the nazi's emblem, and later the Star of David. I don't know where this comes from, possibly some historical reference, but it only makes it all the more sinister.

While this will certainly be revered as a groundbreaking film and probably be a great source of inspiration, I think this will have a hard time finding an audience outside of a hardcore film or arthouse crowd. Like I said, it's majestic and visually appealing to say the least, but the beginning and middle are somewhat slow. There's also portions of the storyline which just aren't explained which causes some confusion early on, although this might be caused by translation issues. The film is overlaid with classical instruments and a piano used for tempo and mood, and this might turn some people off. It's that same old problem, your general audience won't go in for subtitles, but if you dub it, you're golden. All this aside, it's even better on a second viewing, this way you already know the story and can enjoy all the cinematic nuances. I can't wait to see what Esteban Sapir comes up with next.

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bad dog (14 years ago) Reply

OK this is too cool how do I get to see it?


quietearth (14 years ago) Reply

unfortunately I can't find any English subtitled releases available yet.. but I think it's going to release in the UK sometime in the next few months.


jordanus (14 years ago) Reply

I saw the movie in Amsterdam yesterday. I agree is has great photography, and most resources were wonderfully used, but I have to confess that midway I was bored to death. Most of the symbolism was obvious and even ridicoulus; and I also found most characters very underdeveloped, like Mr. TV's son (that for some reason was a woman) that dissapear from the plot. The batlle between evil and good was so black and white that the ending was tedious and unsurprising.

So I wouldn't recommend it. Even for native spanish speakers.


DrSadako (12 years ago) Reply

You can buy it with English subtitles from Amazon.

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