Indigestible Film-Fest Candy from Mexican writer/director Carlos Reygadas; award-bait as lyrical-wannabe headache-inducing Marxist-tinged muddle.* That’s a literal headache BTW, as the film uses fish-eye lenses that distort for an astigmatism/blurred double-vision effect. (Presumably why the film’s format is square-ish Academy Ratio.) Very loosely, the film takes up divisions between monied & working class families, largely focused on one wealthy extended family (slim, elegant, Caucasian in appearance) living the country life surrounded (occasionally interrupted) by darker, plumper, bean-eating laboring types. Smoldering class violence may be in the air, and sure to erupt like Chekhov’s proverbial loaded gun (he even gets a mention), but not before a prurient visit (don't get your hopes up) to a pricey sauna/sex-club where the rich & bored pay for designated rooms servicing designated perversions. Reygadas has a remarkable eye for just missing the necessary element to make a shot. Perhaps a clever strategy of æsthetic denial. Nah.
ATTENTION MUST BE PAID: *If you think the film doesn’t end with a couple of British ‘Public’ School teams fighting it out on the rugby field, you’ve got another think coming.
WATCH THIS, NOT THAT: Is Reygadas trying to meld the slow artful staging of Aleksandr Sokurov (try an early semi-success like THE SECOND CIRCLE/’90) with the savage class comedy & perversions of late Luis Buñuel (say, THE DISCREET CHARM OF THE BOURGEOISIE/’72)?