Chris Knipp Writing: Movies, Politics, Art


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 02, 2016 4:50 pm 
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LUIS SILVA AND ALFREDO CASTRO IN FROM AFAR

Power trips

Lorenzo Vigas' subtle and powerful first film reminded me of what Graham Greene said of Patricia Highsmith's writng: that she "created a world of her own – a world claustrophobic and irrational which we enter each time with a sense of personal danger." The great Chilean actor Alfredo Castro, who starred in Pablo Larraín's Tony Manero and Post Mortem, is the ideal guide into such a world, one, here, of morally suspect creepiness and unpredictable menace. It turns out the young Luis Silva is an ideal companion to take us with Castro on this trip. Like Robin Campillo's Eastern Boys, about a middle class gay Frenchman who enters into a relationship with a young Checnean refugee he picks up in Paris' Gare du Nord, Armando, whom Castro plays, walks, willingly, into personal danger when he lures a hostile and poor youth (Silva) in Caracas to his respectable home.

Everything comes together here, directorial control and tense pacing, ideal casting and cinematography, a seamless use of locations, above all the story. Though this is by Iñárritu's former writer Guillermo Arriaga and has hints of Amores Perros-levels of danger and violence, thre's no unnecessary symbolism here: it's just straight, compulsively-watchable action -- an amazing debut.

From Afar/Desde allá, 93 mins, debuted at Venice 10 Sept. 2015;, winning the Golden Lion for best picture; 10 other awards and nominations and 18 other festivals including Toronto, London, Miami and Hong Kong. French theatrical release 4 May 2016, US (NYC, Strand) 8 June. Screened as part of the 2016 San Francisco International Film Festival. Preview: fuller review published at the time of theatrical release will be found here.

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