Front Row at the Movies
"Wild Tales" Will Take You On a Wild Ride
Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades
In December I attended the Havana International Film Festival where an Argentine-Spanish film called "Relatos salvajes" (or "Wild Tales") was being screened. It was a black comedy, funny but alarming in the outcome of each of six standalone vignettes that comprise this film.
Surrounded by dark-eyed Cuban beauties with café con leche skin exposed in low-cut dresses and handsome chattering men in trim-cut suits and turtlenecks crowded the lobby of the Karl Marx Theater, but I slipped back inside the vast auditorium to watch this rowdy anthology, both laughing and cringing as the ironic, twist-ending stories unfold.
The first wild tale is called "Pasternak" after a guy who lures all the people who have ruined his life on the same plane. Next we have "The Rats," a grim story about a waitress and a cook who slip rat poison into a customer’s food. Then came "The Strongest," a cautionary look at road rage which gets misconstrued in the end. Following that is "Little Bomb," the crime-doesn’t-pay fable about a demolition expert who has a run-in with a tow truck. After that is "The Proposal," a ditty about a rich kid whose dad pays the gardener to take the blame for a fatal automobile accident. And finally we have "Until Death Do Us Part," a love-hate relationship going on between a bride and groom at their wedding party.
All of these grim fairy tales are the work of Argentinian director-writer Damián Szifron. He has a dozen films and television shows to his credit.
But you don’t have to fly to Havana to see "Wild Tales" like I did. It’s showing this week at the Tropic Cinema.
Out of 83 films submitted, it was one of the five nominated as Best Foreign Language Film at the 87th Academy Awards. It lost to the Polish film "Ida." Nonetheless, "Wild Tales" holds the record of being the most-seen film of all time in Argentina.