30-something bookseller Gloria (Stefania Tortorella) hasn’t experienced an orgasm yet. Tired of sleepless nights caused by her very vocal and very horny upstairs neighbors, Gloria moves into a new place for some peace and quiet. However, it’s occupied by the ghost of the man who died there weeks earlier. And he wants to give Gloria what she’s been missing. When Gloria’s best friend and coworker Sandra (Nena Pelenur) gets curious about Gloria’s newfound glow, Gloria can’t bring herself to explain that she’s hooking up with a ghost. Gloria finds herself at a crossroads when the ghost actually ghosts her, leaving her wondering if satisfaction, both emotional and sexual, can be found in the world of the living or the dead.
“The best player is not the one with the best cards but the one who knows how to best play the cards that were dealt to her.”
Written and directed by husband-and-wife filmmaking team Marcela Matta and Mauro Sarser, the Uruguayan film Ghosting Gloria/Muertos con Gloria is a paranormal delight. I love the film’s bookish vibe and the supernatural cunnilingus scenes are quite inventive and fun to watch. The story does drag on a lot longer than it should. There is a point about an hour in that feels like a natural ending point yet the film continues for another 30 minutes. It felt like 3 television episodes stitched together and I wonder if this would have worked better as a mini-series. I’m glad I kept watching because the actual ending is quite satisfying and solves a visual clue that was presented throughout the film. Definitely check this one out if you can!
Ghosting Gloria/Muertos con Gloria had its world premiere at the 2021 Fantasia Film Festival.
Marcos (Carlos Portaluppi) is a nurse working the night shift at a private hospital. He takes pity on the patients who have no chance of survival and secretly euthanizes them so they can die in peace. He’s able to commit his crime unnoticed until the arrival of a mysterious new nurse Gabriel (Ignacio Rogers). Marcos’ quiet existence is about to be thrust into utter chaos. Gabriel is a charmer, seducing the other night nurse Noelia (Lorena Vega) and ingratiating himself to upper management. But Gabriel is also killing patients and does it both with ill intentions and inhumanely. When the rise in patient deaths becomes noticeable, it’s time for Marcos and Gabriel to come face to face in a battle for survival.
Director Martin Kraut was inspired by a 2012 story about two Uruguayan nurses who were caught euthanizing patients. In an interview Kraut says:
“I am interested in investigating what happens when doctors and nurses know there is no chance of survival yet they must keep the bodies alive while they can: Keeping patients on life support or alive is also a very important and profitable business. This fact coupled with the immense power that some nurses like Marcos have while working the night shift, and who devote their time to the care of others in those conditions, can lead them to extreme situations.“
La Dosis is a restrained psychological thriller with a terrific slow build. The tension sneaks up on the viewer as the two nurses must confront their secrets. It does a great job exploring the toxic social dynamics that occur in a hospital environment between nurses, doctors, patients and management. There is an LGBTQ element to the story that isn’t explored enough to make any sense. It lacks in some character building, especially in regards to the main character Marcos. Overall, the direction, the performances, the moody lighting and slow build make this one to watch.
Kudos to whoever designed the movie’s poster because it not only captures the essence of the story and the dynamic between the two main characters, it’s also amazing how one eye can seem to belong to both men at the same time. Amazing!
La Dosis is distributed by Samuel Goldwyn Films available on demand and on digital.
Ciudad Juarez, Mexico is one of the most dangerous cities in the world. Between the years of 1993 and 2005, hundreds of women were brutally murdered, many discovered mutilated in the dessert and others never to be recovered. This violence against women in particular came from two dangerous forces: a drug cartel that wields incredible power still to this day and a deeply entrenched culture of machismo. Although the women of Ciudad Juarez live in constant fear of violence, they still manage to survive and thrive. For some, they find physical, emotional and mental strength as luchadoras: female Lucha Libre wrestlers known for wearing colorful costumes and masks in the ring.
Directed by Paola Calvo and Patrick Jasim, Luchadoras is a powerful documentary that follows three women wrestlers, Lady Candy, Baby Star and Mini Sirenita, as they transcend their circumstances and find strength through their sport. The resiliency of these women is astounding. A must-see for anyone seeking out feminist documentaries or who were inspired by stories like GLOW on Netflix.
Trigger warning: the film discusses violence against women. For those with hearing sensitivities like myself, there are several scenes in which the low battery chirp from a fire alarm can be heard.
Luchadoras had its world premiere at the virtual 2021 SXSW Film Festival.
“I feel like there’s someone outside asking me to open the window. And I know who it is.”
Something is wrong with Ines (Erica Rivas). After her vacation with boyfriend Leopoldo (Daniel Hendler) ends in trauma, Ines tries to go back to her normal, everyday life. She works as a voice actress dubbing horror films in Spanish and sings for a professional choir. Ines’ voice is her livelihood. However, a mysterious force is disrupting her work, adding strange noises to her recordings and affecting her otherwise dulcet singing voice. Another voice actress reveals to Ines what’s plaguing her: an intruder. First Ines hears the intruder, then she feels it and if she allows it, the intruder will take over her life. In the days following the trauma, Ines is possessed by the intruder who enters through her nightmares and makes her question what is reality and what is just a dream.
Directed by Natalia Meta, The Intruder/ El Prófugo is a bizarre psychological thriller about the real effects of trauma. I couldn’t quite make sense of this movie. I’m fascinated by the idea of “the intruder” and the movie requires the audience to come up with their own interpretation of what it is and what it represents. My interpretation is that trauma is a parasitic host that preys on its victim. Things can escalate if the victim is not able to get the support they need to heal In this case the intruder literally grabs its victim by the throat which Ines’ most vulnerable spot since she uses her voice for her livelihood. Natalia Meta’s film is an adaptation of an even darker story, El mal menor by C.E. Feiling, which I’m interested in reading to see how it compares to the film. I do appreciate the fact that, while Meta could have turned this into a graphic horror film, she instead she made it into a female centric psychological drama, something I’m much more drawn to. The protagonist is played by Erica Rivas who delivers a brilliant performance.
The Intruder/El Prófugo was screened as part of the 2020 virtual AFI Fest.
It’s Marianne’s (Naian González Norvind) wedding day and as her elite circle of friends and family celebrate this joyous event, chaos and disorder descends upon their quiet community. The tables have turned in nearby Mexico City. Protestors armed with green paint are taking over. The disenfranchised are now in control and they’re exacting revenge on the privileged. There is a battle going on between the poor and the rich, the brown and the white. When Marianne leaves her reception to help former employee Rolando, she narrowly escapes the orchestrated attack on her home but is soon captured by a violent militia who are hell bent on torturing the rich and draining them of their wealth. In this war between the haves and the have nots, who will win?
Directed by Michel Franco, New Order/Nuevo orden is a brutal and unflinching study in social and racial inequality. Franco wrote the film four years ago but it feels so prescient that it might as well have been written this year. According to an interview with AFI Fest, Franco initially delayed the release of New Order/Nuevo orden to 2021 but changed his mind when he learned of the Black Lives Matter protests back in June. Franco calls the film a “cautionary tale” and while some aspects of the film are strictly dystopian, the latter half in particular is frighteningly realistic.
New Order/Nuevo orden is gritty and real. The film was shot on location in Mexico City, uses subtle visual effects and over 3,000 extras, all of which give the film a sense of merciless authenticity.
Social inequality is a huge problem in Mexico and there are some excellent films that explore this subject including Roma and Las Ninas Bien. New Order/Nuevo orden breaks down the protective shield of wealth and status to lay bare the true cost of privilege.
“It shouldn’t be fun to watch all this violence.”
Director Michel Franco
New Order/Nuevo orden was screened as part of the 2020 virtual AFI Fest.