Jazz, film, and improvised culture.
ND/NF ’16: Kill Me, Please
will be kids. This dark pseudo-horror story is set in Brazil, but you could
just as easily find girls similarly struggling with peer pressure, craving
attention, obsessing over grisly crimes, and somewhat repressing latent
lesbianism in Uruguay. There is a head fake towards old school genre
filmmaking, but thrills and chills are too crass and bourgeoisie for Anita
Rocha da Silveira’s Kill Me, Please,
which screens during this year’s New Directors/New Films.
has a morbid fascination with the victims of a serial killer striking on the
outskirts of Rio, but she is sort of entitled, given they all bear a striking
resemblance to her. Her anti-social brother would be the prime suspect in most
films, but da Silveira has no interest in such tawdry thriller business. We
have no idea where their parents might be. In fact, we hardly see hide nor hair
of any parental unit in Kill Me, Please.
long, Bai and her social circle start to view everything through the prism of
the murders. Some their classmates take up old time religion, like the
ex-boyfriend Bai recently deflowered. Perhaps not surprisingly, the girls will
start to act increasingly erratic an occasionally violent.
instructively titled Kill Me, Please is
maddeningly frustrating, because it has all the raw ingredients of a nifty
little exploitation film. Unfortunately, da Silveira refuses to go there.
Although several scenes initially evoke a John Carpenter vibe, she chokes off
all suspense before things get the slightest bit messy.
is a shame, because the world can always use another twisted cult film that
finds its audience over time. Instead, the self-consciously mannered will come
and go from the festival circuit, without hardly making a ripple. The youthful
cast is mostly adequate, but there is an important distinction to be drawn
between looking bored as demanded by the dramatic context and the ill-disguised
boredom of the cast.
Me, Please, there are flashes of the Kevin Williamson film it could have
been, particularly with respect to da Silveira’s use of music. Unfortunately,
she seems rather sheepishly guilty when it comes to her genre inspirations, opting
to give the world a warmed over art film instead. Disappointing by most
standards, Kill Me, Please screens
this Thursday (3/17) at MoMA an Saturday (3/19) at the Walter Reade, as part of
the 2016 ND/NF.
Labels: Brazilian Cinema, ND/NF '16