Cannes Film Festival, Critics' Week
"Blood Appears" ("La Sangre Brota") is Argentine director Pablo Fendrik's follow-up to his well-regarded debut "The Mugger," which premiered in Cannes' Critics Week last year. Like that film, this intriguing short (67 minutes) feature takes place virtually in real time, "Blood" has an experimental feel, but whereas "Mugger" was broadly comprehensible and engaging, Fendrik's latest effort is too fragmented and elliptical to appeal to mainstream audiences. The festival circuit beckons.
"Mugger" star Arturo Goetz plays a peaceable taxi driver, Arturo, whose son Ramiro phones up from Houston demanding $2,000 to enable him to fly home after a four-year absence. Meanwhile his younger son Leandro is planning to steal his savings in order to buy a stock of ecstasy that he can re-sell at a profit. With the proceeds he'll fly to Houston to join his brother.
Leandro falls in with Vanesa, an attractive streetwise 15-year-old who earns pocket money handing out fliers. Her mother Sandra carries a small baby who she tries to abandon. Arturo then picks up a wealthy businessman who invites him to play bridge for money.
With a jerky camera style, allusive dialogue and frequent close-ups that withhold as much as they reveal, Fendrik makes few concessions to the spectator. He hands out information in a piecemeal manner, and the motivation of the characters is mostly left to conjecture. Fendrik is clearly a considerable talent who sooner or later will produce a major work, but this is not it. He is intensely sensitive to street sights and sounds, and the picture he paints (mostly in blue) of Buenos Aires as a violent, dangerous place is impressive. "Blood" is a triumph of style over content, accomplished but frustrating. There is surely better to come.
Production companies: Magmacine, Acrobates Films, Neue Cameo Film.
Cast: Arturo Goetz, Nahuel Perez Biscayart, Guillermo Arengo, Stella Galazzi, Ailin Salas, Guadalupe Docampo, Susana Pampin.
Director/screenwriter: Pablo Fendrik.
Director of photography: Julian Arpezteguia.
Production design: Pablo Maestre.
Music: Juan Ignacio Bouscayrol.
Editor: Leandro Aste.
No rating, 100 minutes.