Jazz, film, and improvised culture.
VEFFNY ’15: Km 72
rumored Verastegui briefcase probably doesn’t contain Marsellus Wallace’s soul,
because the assorted cops and robbers looking for it have no use for such
spiritual things. The old dodgy millionaire certainly entrusted it to the right
man: his loyal bodyguard Dimas Luzardo. Unfortunately, nobody in the Verastegui
household gets out alive, as we soon know from the flashback structure of
Samuel Henríquez’s Km 72 (trailer here), which screens as
part of the upcoming Venezuelan Film Festival in New York.
was once a cop and military before that, but driving a cab really sharpened his
survival skills. His efficiency handling one aborted hold-up duly impressed his
fare, Diego Verastegui, who hired him on the spot to be his bodyguard. Frankly,
Luzardo did everything for Verastegui, but he was well compensated and grew
close to his employer. Verastegui became a surrogate father to Luzardo, taking
the place of the man who was gunned down on the highway years ago. Likewise,
Luzardo is more of a son to Verastegui than his own offspring, the wastrel
Luzardo is rather disappointed when he arrives late one evening to find
Verastegui dead, with his son and two strangers muddling through a Mexican
standoff of sorts. Luzardo will commence a series of harsh Rashomon-style interrogations
that will end badly for all.
are a whole lot of familiar noir elements in Km 72, but Henríquez executes them with style. There is also a bit
of freshness to Luzardo’s relationship with Verastegui, which Frank Spano and
Gustavo Rodríguez develop quite nicely. Spano also has the appropriate
steeliness for Luzardo’s getting-down-to-business scenes. He certainly looks
like one bad cat. George Akram’s Carlos Verastegui is also so obnoxious, nobody
will possible object when Luzardo goes medieval on him. However, we never get
an adequate sense whether the girl he picked up or the supposed magician who
tagged along receive what they deserve. Still, her name, Anna Karina, is a nice
hat-tip to Godard’s muse.
If you don’t mind noirs that are fatalistic and
nihilistic, than Km 72 is rather a
lot of fun. Frankly, Henríquez overcomplicates matters with the cops’ under-cooked
conflicts in the framing device, but he pulls off some sly revelations in the
third act. The Verastegui villa is also an effective location for what is
essentially a five-character, one-set thriller. Gritty yet sentimental in a
strange way, Km 72 is well worth
seeing for noir fans when it screens this Thursday (9/24) at the Village East,
as part of the Venezuelan Film Festival in New York.
Labels: VEFFNY '15, Venezuelan Cinema