Pablo Larraín’s El Conde review: Blood is everywhere

A dark, cloaked figure glides across the night sky over Santiago, Chile, a symbol of the eternal herald that hovers over the modern city. It infiltrates office buildings, factories, hospitals, and apartments, feeding brutally on the lonely residents inside. But this villain is not fictional. It is General Augusto Pinochet, the brutal, US-backed military dictator who ruled Chile from 1973 to 1990 and died in 2006 with thousands of blood on his hands. just in El Conde, director Pablo Larraín’s charming melodrama horror film, Pinochet Never Died; He was an immortal vampire and faked his death so he could avoid prosecution and live his life in peace on a remote farm, living off nourishing juices made from human hearts and sitting on the vast fortune he amassed during his reign of terror.

And that’s not even the craziest element of Larraín’s film, which premieres in Venice this week. (The film will then have a limited theatrical release on September 8, before making its global debut on Netflix on September 15, just four days after the 50th anniversary of the September 11, 1973 military coup that led to Pinochet to power). Andrey Rublev-esque black and white, El Conde It certainly deserves to be seen on a big screen – but it’s also fun to imagine this piece of propaganda provocation just appearing on the screens of millions of people around the world. This might be the most twisted project Netflix has ever signed on to.

Pinochet Larrain is actually a Frenchman born to unknown parents in France in the 18th century. Through a quick and surprising montage, the director shows the backstory of this monster: Claude Binoche (as he was then known) devotes himself to the French king, and during the night feeds on prostitutes. After witnessing the execution of Marie Antoinette, he licks well the blood on her guillotine, escapes with her severed head, and flees to distant lands, only to finally find himself a rising military star in Chile, in his malevolent eyes the “land of the dead.” The “orphan peasants” are ready for a brutal father figure to seize power.

In the film’s present, Pinochet looks old and worn out (although Jaime Fadel has given him a serpent-like appeal), but he still longs for the lush, succulent necks of youth, and thinks fondly of the days when he fed on blood. French Empire and Britain. Thus Larraine proposes a kind of law of preservation of evil: like matter, it is never destroyed. It shifts and transforms. The evil beast devoted to the King and Queen of France is not defeated by the Revolution; It just reinvents itself in other lands. like El Conde OK, we get how committed Larraín is to that idea — the film has some late twists that send both its narrative and its politics in delightfully crazy directions.

The movie is also a comedic family melodrama, believe it or not. Pinochet’s children gathered at his home, concerned about the state of their inheritance. Sister Carmen (Paola Lochsinger), a beautiful young nun with a mind for numbers, also arrives to calculate the extent of Pinochet’s fortunes. Carmen also happens to be an exorcist, but her exorcisms are as financial as they are spiritual. With a seductive, inviting smile, she interrogates the entire Pinochet family and makes them reveal all their many misdeeds and petty grievances.

The idea of ​​a politician as a vampire is not new. In his 2008 film Il DivoPaolo Sorrentino portrayed controversial Italian politician Giulio Andreotti as a sort of vampire, a silent, ageless figure living in a world of elegant shadows. Larrin goes much further than that. It embraces the genre and embraces the gore. The blood is everywhere, pooling on the floors, leaving thick streaks, and dripping on the cheeks and chin. The film’s finale is practically a quagmire of beheadings. The director doesn’t play coy with any of these things. He is not afraid to find beauty and excitement in this brutal story he made up of the people who raped his country, because he knows he has to grab our attention and keep it.

In recent years, Larrain has become famous for his portraits of women such as Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis (Jackie(And Lady Diana)Spencer). El Conde At first glance, it might seem like a radical departure from this kind of subject matter and a return to genre-influenced political fiction such as Neruda. But really, it’s all part of the same series. Jackie And Spencer They may not seem like overtly political films, but they are testaments to the fact that the closer one gets to centers of power, the more transcendent that power becomes, the more embedded in ritual, morality, and behaviour. The so-called Western democracies of the United States and the United Kingdom are quiet, hermetically sealed worlds. In the far fringes of the empire the real carnage takes place, and El Conde He portrays Chile as a land far and alien to Pinochet and the forces that literally produced him, making it an uncharted land for the ravages of unbridled capitalism and kleptocracy. Under all kinds of plays, what appears most clearly in El Conde It is Larin’s grief and anger at what happened to his country. In any case, it will be available on Netflix in two weeks. Enjoy.

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