EMINE – ‘Wild Tales’: Satire at its best

‘Wild Tales’: Satire at its bestArgentinaand#39s Oscar nominee for foreign language film andldquoRelatos salvajesandrdquo (Wild Tales) might have lost the award to Polandand#39s andldquoIda,andrdquo but it sure has won the hearts of critics and audiences alike.Director Damiandaacuten Szifronand#39s six short films taking the form of an omnibus are all based on themes of vengeance and aggression and dipped in a very specific kind of black humor that will especially make sense to those who live in societies familiar to corruption, class divide and a hunger for power Yet these macabre and unmistakably authentic Argentine stories will weave their spell on anyone, for Szifronand#39s very keen understanding of the foibles and weaknesses of human nature prevails throughout his stories, while his unique vision leaves a mark on cinematic history.

The first and shortest story begins aboard a plane. A young woman watches the beautiful Buenos Aires skyline as the aircraft takes off.

The woman then starts to engage in a conversation with the music critic sitting next to her Turns out they know someone in common and, oddly enough, an elderly lady eavesdropping on their conversation also seems to know the person they are talking about. And what a coincidence, someone else knows the guy as well! At this point, things get even more complicated because everyone involved realizes that they once wronged the said man.

Could it be a coincidence that they are all on the very same plane and that the flight attendant has suddenly and seriously started freaking out about oncoming turbulence?After this bombastic start, we move on to a rainy night in a dingy restaurant in the suburbs. A waitress and a female chef are in their empty restaurant, when a man comes in.

The waitress is extremely agitated as she recognizes the man: He was the mafia boss who drove her father to suicide. The chef simply tells the waitress, andldquoLetand#39s put some rat poison in his food no one will realize and weand#39ll be doing a service to society!andrdquoWill the duo kill the man or not? A moral quandary befalls the waitress as she tries to decide the right thing to do, all the while trying to restrain herself from reacting to the manand#39s aggressive and chauvinistic attitude.

What follows is an unexpected new arrival. Perhaps the chef is also looking for an opportunity to vent her repressed angerThe best and by far the funniest of the tales comes in the form of a cockfight between a rich man driving a BMW and a peasant driving a truck.

The BMW man harasses the peasant on the country road just because he can. But when the BMW guy suddenly gets a flat tire and has to stop on the road, the dynamics suddenly change as the frustrated peasant tries to reclaim his dignity and shame the rich fellow.

It isnand#39t long before the arguments transform into a clash of two huge male egos trying to win, no matter what. This particular story is so well shot (kudos to cinematographer Javier Julia) and so ridiculously funny in its portrayal of the brawl between the men that the images one will immediately recall afterwards from the entire film will be from this part.

Also take note of the final joke regarding crimes of passion.The segment incorporating an anarchic engineerand#39s fight against city hall is a superb example of how labyrinthine bureaucracy and underpaid administrative staff can transform oneand#39s life into a living hell of queues, paperwork and pent-up frustration that is bound to explode at some point.

However, you never know a taste of Guy Fawkes-like activism might do the trick and turn the victim into a public hero!The most shocking and disturbing story is one involving a hit-and-run accident in which the perpetrator is a rich college student who seeks help from his father The fatherand#39s plan of bringing his lawyer and possibly involving the family gardener in a switcheroo takes a new twist when the father realizes he himself might just be in the middle of an extortion scheme by his greedy lawyerThe final and most uplifting story involves a newlywed couple in the midst of their glamorous wedding party. However, all starts to get out of hand when the bride finds out that her new hubby might be cheating on her A comedy of errors follows, taking on a andldquoKiss Me, Kateandrdquo vibe that would put a smile on Shakespeareand#39s face.

andldquoRelatos salvajesandrdquo has so much to offer with its sharp humor and storytelling, which put the viewer in a position of unavoidable reflection on contemporary society and basic morality.This is one wild film for sure and deserves all the attention it has already garnered.

SOURCE: Today’s Zaman