Jazz, film, and improvised culture.
Tribeca ’15: Scherzo Diablolico
is nothing like music to summon deeply buried sense-memories. That is why music
therapists have had such success treating Alzheimer’s patients. On the other
hand, it is not so pleasant for a school girl held captive by a classical piano
loving sociopath. However, just when he thinks he has completely realized his
plan, karma does what it does in Adrián García Bogliano’s Scherzo Diabolico, which screens during the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival.
seems like the nebbish drone at a boiler-room law firm, whose work keeps his
manager Licenciado Granovsky looking good with upper management. This will soon
change. Tired of being a doormat, Aram will kidnap Granovsky’s diabetic
daughter Anabela, using the same meticulous planning that makes him such a
valuable employee. As the weeks pass without news of his daughter, the
completely destabilized Granovsky never notices all the other little things
Aram does to undermine his position. Eventually, Aram replaces his terminated
boss, just like he planned. However, he will be completely blind-sided by the
Scherzo plods along a bit
early on and frankly it seems to be missing some obvious establishing shots,
but if you are confident enough to fill in the gaps, the big reversal quite a
sight to behold. Over the top hardly begins to describe it. This is
horror-revenge filmmaking on an operatic scale, fueled by Romantic Era classical
music. If you are inclined towards pedantry than you will miss out on the
pleasures of its bold, gory spectacle.
Aram, Francisco Barreiro stands apart from recent movie villains, making the audience
truly despise him, before almost winning back their sympathy down the stretch—almost,
but not quite. Indeed, Scherzo raises
viewers’ indignant blood lust almost as much as José Manuel Cravioto’s Reversal. Likewise, Juan of the Dead director Jorge Molina’s Granovsky evolves in very
complicated, human ways, constantly challenging the audience to reassess him.
In contrast, Daniela Soto Vell only uses two speeds to play Anabela, but the
second is something else entirely.
If that weren’t enough, Scherzo also boasts one of the most distinctive opening credit
sequences since the days of Saul Bass. It is not simply cool looking. It helps
link the piano sonatas with a sense of ominous foreboding. This is a film very
much about the transforming power of music. We usually just assume it will be
transformative in a good way, because only a philistine would argue to contrary—but
not in this case. (It is also worth noting the titular composition was penned
by Charles-Valentin Alkan, who bitterly resented being passed over for a
Conservatoire position.) Stylish and outrageous, Scherzo Diabolico is not quite as sly and satisfying as Bolgiano’s Late Phases, but it is on par with his Here Comes the Devil. Highly recommended
for fan of horror and dark payback thrillers, it screens again next Saturday
(4/25), as part of this year’s Tribeca.
Labels: Horror Movies, Tribeca '15