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"Our Time": Silent Movies about Bulls, Poetry and Sex

The most personal - perhaps too personal - film in the career of Carlos Reigadas, the Mexican follower of Tarkovsky and Dreyer.


Juan and his wife Esther (played by the director himself and his spouse) live on a secluded ranch somewhere in the Mexican outback. He is a poet, and quite famous, though, now the selection of bulls takes him much more iambic and anapaesthe. She - the victim of the first ardent love, forced now all the time to devote to family and children. When Juan's American friend arrives at the ranch, Esther starts a passionate affair with him. The husband finds out about this, but does nothing - he does not seem to be offended by treason. Only that the wife does not want to discuss it with him.

Shot from the movie "Our Time"

Shot from the movie "Our Time"

"Our Time" opens, perhaps the most beautiful scene from all that were in the films of the past year. Beautiful wide-angle portrait of childish fun, sophisticated shot trifle, serene and sensual. In just ten minutes of children's games and youthful flirtings, Reigadas takes us through the years of human life, preserves time in a small space of a Mexican beach. Formally, he just shows how the children of the main characters are having fun - globally, he fits the world perception of several life stages in a brief form.

Shot from the movie "Our Time"

Shot from the movie "Our Time"

The scene ends, the characters on the screen grow up. But the serenity does not go anywhere, just as the delightful bucolic, the rural lyrics of the Mexican hinterland — a sort of detached, abstract world of harmony and tranquility, where there are only bulls, but landscapes, yes joy, and grace, do not leave. The first hour and a half of "Our Time" is an unparalleled film poetry, which I really don't want to delve into, but I want to feel, live, exist with it. Only those who have seen the work of Reigadas before will surely understand that a trick has crept in here somewhere. His movie is not about the joys of life at all. Rather about her agony.

And indeed, exactly in the middle there is a break. The film goes from the general to the particular - the everyday story about betrayal, relationships, love and sex. Wide pastures are replaced by stuffy rooms, a freedom-loving camera is nailed to a tripod with chains. Poetry becomes prose, an elegant cinema language sags under the weight of verbal language, the language of love letters and voice-over. Even the nature of the Mexican prairies submits to the everyday, from the wide symbolism goes into a narrow metaphor of sexual intercourse (the bull puts his horse on the horns, yes).

Shot from the movie "Our Time"

Shot from the movie "Our Time"

This is, in general, the usual illness of festival films - many directors are much more interested in writing space than what is happening in it (or they just get it better). In a slight degree, last year's Face and Between the Rows suffered the same. Both are awesome films, but with a noticeable breakdown in the dynamics in the place where they have to move from funny byte descriptions to specific dramas of specific heroes. Reigadas has the same thing, only he has this contrast much more noticeable - because how beautiful his general is, just as boring is his particular.

Reigadas pushes himself - and at the same time the viewer - into an endless cycle of ordeals and hysterics. It is evident that he is closely within this framework: the film now and then tries to escape from the cramped rooms of the boring sufferers and go somewhere up - which is one scene of the landing of the aircraft, shot as if from “first person”. This, probably, is the creative idea of ​​the director - to convey through the audience's perception what the hero himself feels, who has taken away the small joys of life and forced him to wander along narrow corridors and doorways, looking awkwardly at others.

And since it’s so conceived, it’s not as good as criticizing the film. But it is still a shame that Reigadas betrays himself and, rejecting all metaphysics, descends to the ground and tries to press through the rational. Apparently, this is the side effect of the fact that “Our time” is the most personal film of the director, which he seems only glad to remind once again. As one foreign journalist correctly noted, this is “Reigadas film about Reigadas for Reigadas”, a three-hour session with a family psychologist, wrapped in a heavy binding and left to the public. But for a personal drama, the film is too distanced from its heroes, and for the “Mexican Tarkovsky” Reigadas talks too much.

Since 17 January at the cinema.

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