December 6, 2013
Argentine indie gem replicates Earth political mess on Mars
“Just like in Sidra, my previous film in which the content had an effect on its form, the exact same thing happens in T.Ves?. Because what’s happening on the red planet is relayed to us via television. That’s why viewers will see not only a film, but also a TV show,” says Argentine Diego Recalde about his new work.
Now, what’s happening on the red planet? Well, lots of things, actually. In an unspecified time after the year 2000, US citizens arrive on Mars and discover life there.
Three years later, the red planet has turned into a huge metropolis full of buildings, casinos, cabarets and fast food diners. But the economic and political system implemented by the Empire has seriously harmed Martians. Soon enough, they experience inflation, unemployment and social chaos.
This time, human beings are the invaders. As for the aliens, they can barely endure knowing that everything is going to get much worse.
There are a lot of good things to be said about T.Ves?, the first one being how unusually inventive it is. It makes sense: Diego Recalde is an unusual character as well. He’s scripted TV shows such as Roberto Petttinato's Duro de domar, where he also worked as a comedian and a reporter. He’s also scripted TV shows like RSM, Mundo perfecto, Televisión registrada, and Caiga quien caiga.
He has plenty of experience in the realm of radio in programmes such as Zona liberada, No se desesperen, and Mondo Beat. He’s written more than a handful of novels and draws comic strips for local dailies. And he sings.
As a filmmaker, he’s produced, written and directed three feature films before T.Ves?, which are Sidra, Habano y cigarrillos and El periodista, all of them made in a very independent manner and presented commercially in theatres. T.ves? will screen exclusively at the Cosmos movie theatre.
As written above, T.Ves? is quite an original feature. On the one hand, you could say it’s a kind of parody or satire (a most inspired one) on how television news shows convey and distort information — or even editorialize it for their own gain.
It’s depicted as a TV news programme, in three different spaces: there’s a reporter at the network (played by Recalde), a female reporter covering the repercussion on Earth (the protest of left-wingers in front of the US Embassy is simply hilarious) of the tumultuous situation on Mars, and a male reporter broadcasting live from Mars (his voice is out of sync with the image).
Thanks to a very well paced editing, the rotation of these three places never drags (and we’re talking about a long series of static shots). There are, too, some smart, amusing parodies of TV commercials, including one about people whose everyday suffering leads them to seek salvation in dubious places.
Furthermore, the deliberately slightly over the top acting goes hand in hand with the kind of finely tuned absurd humour (with a most incisive political edge) that envelops the entire film. What's most appealing is the ongoing sense of discovery that makes you expect the unexpected and turns T.Ves? into a different feature. Most of the time, the verbal gags are bound to catch you off-guard, time and again.
At a time when independent cinema tends to be not that independent, T.Ves? is a small, rare gem not to be missed.