Acclaimed Mexican-Canadian auteur Nicolás Pereda returns to the Festival with Minotaur, a pendant to his 2009 feature Juntos. Shot in the Mexico City apartment of Pereda’s signature actor Gabino Rodríguez, Minotaur is an incandescent chamber piece that observes three thirtysomethings (Rodríguez, Luisa Pardo and Francisco Barreiro) as they sleep, dream, read, and receive visitors (including the housekeeper who takes care of them) in their communal space. A lovely and lethargic spell is cast as an ambiguous, Marienbad-like love triangle emerges among the trio, conveyed through literature (books function as telepathic transmitters and definers of relationships), choreography, and the acute physical presence of the three leads. Extending Pereda’s recurring interests in class, social structure and family relations in Mexican society in its wraithlike fantasy of a leisure class that is quite literally sustained in its narcoleptic existence by the ministrations of the domestic help, Minotaur evokes the films of Tsai Ming-liang in its distended naturalism, ritualistic solitude, and creation of a cloistered world suffused with longing.
The surreal aura of Minotaur seeps beyond the confines of the trio’s apartment into a strange "night without distance" in Lois Patiño’s hallucinatory portrait of border smuggling in the Gerês Mountains between Portugal and Galicia. Casting real townsfolk, some of whom were smugglers in their youth, Patiño places their stiffly Straubian presences within cross-processed, multilayered tableaux of rocks, river, and trees — an ever-indeterminate place that has imbibed and borne witness to innumerable, desperate acts of survival. Conjuring an instant in the memory of a landscape filled with ghosts, Night without distance extracts spellbinding fantasy from the real.
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