Nature turns black

The reviews of David Perez “Davicine” at the 70th San Sebastian Film Festival:
Ace Bestas

A middle-aged French couple moves to a local village in search of closeness to nature, where their presence inflames two locals to the point of open hostility and shocking violence.

The film directed by Rodrigo Sorogoyen and in co-authorship with Elizabeth Peña, has a leading role Marina Foya (three-time César nominee for Best Actress for the writer’s workshop, Flawless Y police), Denis Menochet (Cesar was nominated for Best Supporting Actor for Thank goodness and Best Actor for Shared Custodyand participated in international productions such as the French Chronicleon wes andersonJ Damned wretcheson Quentin Tarantino), Luis Zahera (Goya for Best Supporting Actor for The kingdom and part of the casting of God forgive usboth ruled by Rodrigo Sorogoyen), Diego Nest (jogging, inclusions, Pedro or Captain) Y Marie Colomb (protagonist of the miniseries Letizia or the end of men). With them, Ace Bestas There is the magnificent work of non-professional Galician actors. The film had its world premiere at the Cannes Première at the 75th edition of the Cannes International Film Festival and was presented in Spain in the Perlas section of the 70th edition of the San Sebastián festival.

Small town for universal themes

Rodrigo Sorogoyen (Madrid, 1981) made his feature film debut as co-director peris roman 8 quotes (2008). His next film Stockholm (2013), won three awards at the Malaga Film Festival and Goya for Best Debutant (Javier Pereira), among other awards. with God forgive us (2016) won the Jury Prize for Best Screenplay in San Sebastian and the Goya for Best Actor (Robert Alamo). He returned to compete for the Golden Shell in 2018 with The kingdomwhich would later win 7 Goya Awards. Mother (2019) premiered in the Orizzonti section of the Venice Film Festival, in which Martha Grandson receives the award for best actress.

This year 2022 Sorogonous directed one of the episodes of the series Blackout (Official Out-of-Competition Section) and returns to theaters with Ace Bestasfilmed in the countryside of El Bierzo and Galicia in Spanish, French and Galician. Elizabeth Peña Y Rodrigo Sorogoyen they present us with universal themes, showing a complex reality and some characters to whom we will lean our sympathy throughout the frame.

in Ace Bestas, Antoine and Olga are a French couple who settled long ago in a village in the interior of Galicia. There they lead a peaceful life, although their coexistence with the locals is not as idyllic as they would like. The conflict with their neighbors, the Anta brothers, will cause tension in the village to rise until it reaches a point of no return.

Realism beyond doubt

Ace Bestas is a co-production between Spain and France and is positioned as a European auteur film. The cast that made up the film managed to meet the expected acting quality, giving their characters a realism that raised the quality, commerciality and expectations of the film on a European level.

Nature is another character in the film, and the green of the field turns black before the darkness that invades this small town where its neighbors are hostile, moving from rural drama to thriller because of the palpable tension in each scene and its subsequent outcome. Sorogonous takes to the extreme a situation of confrontation between villagers who come from behind, where integration is difficult for those who come from outside with the intention of settling and creating an ecological farm, but spoil the intention of the other neighbors to sign an advertising agreement with They supposedly escape from the heavy a life they have been living for decades.

It is far from fiction, but the reality that tells us Ace Bestas it is experienced in many rural areas and the tension we feel during more than two hours of footage is also seen in many cities where it is difficult to live together in the closed minds of many people. What awaits us in the film is clear from the very first scene, in which we see two men immobilize a horse in slow motion to the rhythm of harrowing music. This scene is as real as life itself, as Rapa das Bestas is a party and custom that has been held for years, but not only does the title of the film refer to this celebration, but it also serves to define how the human being in the face of certain opposition to fulfill his dreams by being able to become more beast than man.

Hate and hope as the engines of the characters

Director Rodrigo Sorogoyen focuses the entire story on the tension experienced by the French couple, played excellently Denis Menochet Y Marina Foia -who had to learn Spanish in a short time-, with two brothers and immediate neighbors embodied by the always creepy Luis Zahera Y Diego Nest. These brothers reflect the hatred of foreigners that the villagers of the area feel, but it is not just a racial or cultural hatred, not even a hatred focused exclusively on nationality, but rather comes from a sense of inferiority before a society that has forgotten.

The terrible fierce battle (psychological and physical) that is experienced therefore stems from revenge for refusing to carry out plans that would solve certain economic problems, but also because of this personal hatred degenerating into gross and overt violence by neighbors. Spaniards, while we are shown the French, unable to mitigate this situation and with enough clumsiness to deal with the conflict. Not one would make a more drastic decision if they were in the shoes of the French couple, but nevertheless, the decision they make is completely worthy and they take it to its fullest extent.

Skin-deep tension

Ace Bestas it’s as raw as life itself, it’s as direct as the townspeople and as dark as the decisions some characters choose as their only way out, and it’s split into two perfectly distinct and narratively flawless acts. While the first act presents us with the confrontation of the neighbors, being able to analyze in depth the motives of each side, little by little a situation grows that seems impossible to resolve without violence and drama. The second act focuses more on the aftermath of the violence and mourning, enjoying a soundtrack in each act that heightens the stress of the main characters and the tension that is experienced.

Likewise, both acts are presented with brilliant storytelling and a compelling mise-en-scène that heightens the tension, both through close-ups that the actors keep impeccably on their faces, and through the power of sequential shots that never fail to remind us of how incredible and excellent are all cast members.

It deserves special attention Marina Foia, who during the first part of the film is in the shadow of the people of the city, but is able to take over the film in the second act with an interpretative intensity and a fire in his gaze that reminds us that hope will not be lost and must be we fight to achieve our dreams even if everything is against us. This straightforward angle of the film may put off those who thought they were going to see a testosterone-fueled thriller, but Sorogonous it’s ambitious enough to get two movies in one that complement each other perfectly and give this story extra value.

During the first act, which focuses on masculinity, Fois He has great chemistry with his on-screen partner. Denis Menochetbut it seems that the best dialogues and scenes were reserved for his verbal confrontations in the second act with his daughter, played by Maria Columbus, showing that she is a woman of great strength, both physical and psychological. Although it seems obvious, we have to remember what an excellent actor he is Luis Zahera, managing to create a character we have a moral obligation to hate, but with so many shadows in his difficult life that it’s hard not to put ourselves in his shoes. Hatred and understanding can only go hand in hand thanks to actors of the rank of Zahera.

Ace Bestas This is suspense in its purest form, mastered in an exceptional way as it works as a contemplative story of the human soul, managing to be an example of quality cinematography that keeps us in suspense and grips us with the intensity of its characters and anguish of its history. Lights and shadows make up this reflection of the vileness of human beings with a dark soundtrack, brilliant narration and superb staging that will leave no one indifferent and give us more than one topic to think about.

What do you think of the movie As Bestas?

Ace Bestas

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