By Roger Costa
WORLD WAR III
One of the most brilliant and impressive films to screen at this year’s Venice Film Festival, Iranian director and co-writer Houman Seyyedi’s incendiary satire won two major Horizon awards, one for Best Film and the other for Mohsen Tanabendeh as Best Actor. He masterly anchors the film with his superb performance, conducting the viewer through an electrifying hell-like experience. He plays a day laborer who is hired to work at a film shooting site and ends up becoming an extra. When their lead actor, who is playing Hitler in what it seems to be a story set during Nazism, fatally has a heart attack on set, he is chosen to replace the man due to his figures. Grieving the death of his family, he becomes entangled in a sex-worker’s problematic life, secretly sheltering her at the film site, and turning things complicated for all parts. Hysterically funny, filled with sharp dialogue and extremely perceptive, this is one of the most accomplished and accurate social/political/moral satires in recent years, an intriguing look at the film industry, the misuse of power, and the lack of compassion in modern society. A powerfully honest dramedy that looks at the chaos and conflicts amongst men and their goals with incredible impact.
Chilean Director Fernando Guzzoni strikes back with another timely and scandalous take on youth delinquency. The director made the headlines a few years back with “Jesus”, and now turns his lenses to a loosely based adaptation on Chile’s most notorious sexual abuse scandals, a case involving children, teens, politicians, doctors and priests that stirred up the country. Taking that as a premise, Guzzoni perceptively follows the attempts of a priest in re-establishing kids back to society, serving as a social worker for minors in criminal situations. He is determined to punish those responsible for raping Blanca, a young girl who claims she was abducted and abused for over a year by a respected Senator. They battle the odds in order to prove their story, while a dangerous, intriguing net of lies, betrayal and economic clashes surge throughout their journey. Suspenseful, enigmatic, complex and subversive, this Horizon Award Winner for Best Screenplay is an intensely crafted, superbly performed and narrated investigative drama that announces Guzzoni as a major voice in Latin American Cinema.
(Both films screened at the 2022 Venice Film Festival and are currently seeking US distribution. Go to https://www.theprfactory.com/ for information.)