Jazz, film, and improvised culture.
VEFFNY ’15: Alone (Solo)
blind son Lucas has what they used to call the shine, so he ought to pay more attention
to the lad. Unfortunately, he is not home enough to hear his spooky premonitions.
Instead, he is too busy plotting a dodgy scheme that will give him enough money
to abscond from his family with his wife’s troubled younger sister. However,
you do not need second sight to predict bad things for the half-baked plan he
hatches in José Ramon Novoa’s Alone (trailer here), which screens as
part of the upcoming Venezuelan Film Festival in New York.
is a junior military officer assigned to the docks. As a result, he knows full
well his Colonel is up to his neck in drug trafficking. He is less than
thrilled when the Colonel’s people browbeat him into storing a big shipment on
his docks, but refusal would hurt his chance for promotion. However, all that
illicit merchandise gives him ideas when his sister-in-law Glenda blows back
into town. There is a good reason why his wife Teresa is less than thrilled by
her return. Clearly, she and Tomas were once carrying on quite the torrid
of just picking up where they left off, Tomas would like to start a new life
with Glenda. To kick it off in style, Tomas plans to steal the Colonel’s
shipment and make his own deal with Yusef, the distributor. Conveniently, Tomas
is uniquely well positioned to assemble all the necessary paperwork to facilitate
the shipping and handling of a big barrel full of drugs. Yet, he seems to lack
the instinct necessary to really pull off a score like this.
Alone might sound like
your garden variety angsty crime drama, but its third act twist is extraordinarily
twisted. There is also a long, tripped out hallucinatory centerpiece sequence
that has to be seen to be believed. This is not the film you think you are
settling in for, not by a long shot. Still, it pointedly illustrates just how
severe karma can be to those who plan to abandon their spouses and children. We’re
talking major blowback here.
Olivares is appropriately beefy and weirdly naïve as Tomas. He is human and
fallible enough to maintain our interest, but also sufficiently self-centered
and impulsive to prevent his woes from causing viewers any serious concern. On
the other hand, it is hard to get Samantha Dagnino’s Glenda as a fatal femme
fatale, especially given her self-destructive behavior. However, as Lucas, Wilson
A. Peña Nelo exhibits a haunting presence that deserved more screen time.
At times, Alone
is betrayed by its budget constraints, but when Ramon Novoa drops his big
climatic shoe, it leaves a mark. It is the sort of film that leaves the
audience muttering well after the screening. Indeed, it is completely its own
film. Worth seeing for its grubby audacity, Alone
screens this Saturday night (9/26) at the Village East, as part of the
Venezuelan Film Festival in New York.
Labels: VEFFNY '15, Venezuelan Cinema