Summer 2015 Features series
Sunday, May 10, 2015 at 8:00pm
Directed by Damián Szifrón
Screenplay by Damián Szifrón
Starring Darío Grandinetti, María Marull, and Mónica Villa
Rated 14A ·
Argentina / Spain
As its title suggests, Argentinian director Damián Szifrón’s latest feature Wild Tales (nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the 87th Annual Academy Awards) is a compendium of outrageously bizarre stories, each more shocking and hilarious than the last. Blending black comedy with dramatically loaded scenarios, Szifrón skilfully weaves together six separate short films, unlinked by narrative but unified by a violence that simmers on the cusp of explosion.
The opening short, “Pasternak,” features a game of chance aboard an airplane whose passengers discover they all know the same failed musician. Road rage is a trigger for hilarity in the short “Road to Hell.” Unexpected endings continue in “Dynamite,” wherein the eponymous hero vents his frustration with tow trucks and traffic in a manner that defies social norms and safety standards. The final and possibly funniest short, “Till Death Do Us Part,” documents the mayhem during a wedding reception when the new bride discovers that her husband has recently cheated on her.
More than a series of stories about frustrated characters on the verge, Wild Tales is also a portrait of contemporary Argentina: a society riddled with corruption, hampered by bureaucracy, and bogged down by tradition. Szifrón’s film, by breaking down taboos and allowing its characters to lose control, provides a cathartic release from the pressures of modern-day living—a release that provokes unrestrained, double-over-in-your-seat laughter.
“The movie rarely, if ever, feels mechanical. Instead, you may find yourself marveling at the fertility of an imagination that could allow itself to toss so many vivid characters and stories—enough to supply four or five movies—into one generous package.” (Mick La Salle, San Francisco Chronicle)
“Wild Tales rockets along with sleek, amoral charm and a masterful sense of cinematic storytelling; it’s worth noting that one of the producers is Spain’s Pedro Almodóvar.” (Ty Burr, Boston Globe)