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October 22, 2014
Sunday, May 18, 2014

Sweet Revenge, Argentine Style

By Isaac Tylim
For The Herald
CANNES — While watching Damián Szifrón’s passionate and brilliant Relatos Salvajes (Wild Tales) one may think that every Argentine is an active volcano about to erupt. And the characters of the six wild tales that compose the film are just that. And so is the audience.

It is customary for people to applaud at the end of the projection, but at the screening of this “wild thing” something unusual occurred. It took less than 20 minutes for the audience to be at mercy of the action’s contagious excitement, and the critics began to applaud.

Wild Tales is an exhilarating experience. Szifrón is Almodovar on wheels — by the way, Almodovar is counted as one of the co-producers. Wild Tales is more than Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, it is men and women undergoing a protracted breakdown — albeit for a cause.

Relatos Salvajes will make Damián Szifrón a household name around the world. His car chase scene outdoes Hollywood by far, and the wedding scene will become a classic farce à la Marx Brothers.

The recurrent violent outbursts reminds us that — under our sweet façade — the human species’ inner animal is ready to show its teeth, whether at the car showroom, on the road, at a restaurant or even at a plush Jewish wedding. Revenge is the common thread that defines each tale. “An eye for an eye” philosophy rules. In avenging past injuries, every move counts as fair game.

Is it accidental that revenge is at the center of the film? Szifrón is a third-generation holocaust survivor. Only one tale has a measure of forgiveness.

The past never becomes the past, and the law of the jungle is the new urban law. Ethics have no place in Szifrón's film. Each man and woman for itself, struggling against stronger forces that impel them to act in order to survive. And in the process some make it, and some don’t. Too bad or too good. One thing is for sure: Wild Tales is a sweet, most enjoyable “reel” revenge. It resonates with every person who harbours those distressing wishes to get even. And that probably means all of us.

Cannes is wild about this film which is capable of taking the Palm d'Or to Buenos Aires.

As per Hugo Sigman, producer, President Cristina Kirchner would love the movie.

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