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Sangre (Amat Escalante, 2005)

May 17, 2012

Diego’s life’s built on repetition: his job is counting people as they enter a large government building, he watches soap opera with his wife, and with the same distant interest he has sex with her. The return of his daughter, from a previous marriage, will crack his routine, to the point of no return.

Diego’s look is always distant, his movements are slow and fatigued as if his shoulders were to support some sort of sisyphic weight. Each action in his everyday life is portrayed with sloppy disgust. Everything is slow, mechanical, almost empty. Even sex is a routine that has to happen, no matter how detached it can be.

Sangre is a merciless slow parade, that combines the coldness of Haneke’s compositions with the sweat of Reygadas’ bodies. The camera barely moves during the entire film, giving the shots a static tone that emphasizes the slow descent of Diego. Escalante’s eye has a surgical cruelty that allows him to move from black humor to nihilism in a few seconds. The final scene, as well as the opening, is static tragedy at its best.

There are no characters, just bodies, sweat and flesh. Even if they move, the camera remains still, so that the frame cuts these bodies, leaving parts out of the picture. A perfect example of the cruel indifference of Escalante’s eye, that deliberately ignores what happens in front of him.

The absence of music contributes to the general feeling of emptiness that wraps the viewer, a mix between sadness and anguish. Far from being perfect, Sangre is raw and young, yet it also reaches a defined style, not easy to approach but powerful nonetheless.

(Carlos Reygadas, apart from being a major influence on Escalante’s style, is also one of the associates producers of this movie.)

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