Monday, October 29, 2012

After Lucia (Philadelphia Film Festival)

Michel Franco's "After Lucia" is too insular for its own good, not bringing enough to the table thematically to attempt a small-scale analysis of bullying, or really anything in particular. The perpetrators seem pulled from a PSA. Alejandra, the victim of the harassment, is just as underwritten, and credit should go to Tessa Ia for gleaning any sort of emotional response from the audience. Everything is pared down to fit Franco's static style, which occasionally allows bits of tailored emotion, most of them courtesy of Hernan Mendoza as Alejandro's father Roberto ("a disgruntled chef," as the problem says, pretty hilariously). Mendoza gives the film some of the spark it needs, but all the same, even his characterization feels familiar. Franco goes for a mix of subdued and unhinged, but it all feels poured on, tired, and not really justified, including the apathetic and abrupt last scene. The film's aesthetic is predominantly trashy and repetitive, with a couple of nice compositions sprinkled in due to luck or motives unknown.  How this movie has gotten so much attention (the Un Certain Regard prize at Cannes, Mexico's cosign for Best Foreign Film) baffles me, and the more I think about it, the less sympathy I'm willing to give it. C-

1 comment:

Steph said...

It's a shame this movie isn't better ... it seems to have had the potential to be really powerful.