Tuesday, July 27, 2010

A Witch is amongst us ... Bruja (Short) Directed by: Andres Peyrot. #UFF #PIFF2010

Underground Film Forum / Philadelphia Independent Film festival

Sean Hamilton
Benjamin Barnett

Screening -
Title: Bruja (Short)
Director: Andres Peyrot
Movie (IMDB) Site: BRUJA on IMDB

Andres Peyrot's stunning short film Bruja begins with a plane arriving in Panama City carrying Lorraine(Saundra Santiago), a broken, Americanized, woman, going through an emotional and tough divorce who is returning to Panama to be with her father. The story is told through sound as the camera jumps between vibrant images constructing a portrait of a bustling third world city and its people.

Easily distracted with her troubles, Lorraine is driving when she nearly hits a young woman crossing a busy intersection. She then pulls over and feeling shocked and perhaps a little bit nurturing, tells the girl to get in her car so she take her home. When they arrive where the girl lives, she does not speak other than saying she thinks it is the right place. An eerie feeling comes over Lorraine and then her nose suddenly starts to bleed. The girl, staring, takes out a cloth to wipe the running blood, slowly. "Agricia can help you" she says, and tells Lorraine to come back to pick her up the next day. The last thing she says is "You could be dead."

When Lorraine returns the next day the mysterious (despite being upbeat and currently dressed) girl takes her to a village outside of the city to a woman who tells her that someone has cast a spell on her and that it will eat her from the inside out and turn to cancer if she doesn't get it out. The woman tells her they will do it in two days.

Lorraine must then decide whether or not to go through with the shamanistic treatment she has been spontaneously offered, which would go against her self proclaimed profile as a "pragmatic woman." The inner struggle is It becomes apparent that there could be danger involved, and she finds herself traveling on a boat deep into the jungle (one of the film's most visually defining moments) to a world almost completely removed from her own where her survival is in the hands of strange native people she can only trust are trying to help her through practices she can not understand.

Although Bruja is a worth a look just for its unique and exotic setting alone, both technically and visually the film is a standout; and every department from cast to camera to art direction to location scouting to wardrobe and everything in between deserves a great deal of the credit for this impressive accomplishment.

The story (inspired by true events) can appear thin to the needy film goer, but it certainly has clarity of story; brilliantly paced and constantly changing speeds, and is clearly driven by deliberate soundscape including an cool original score of stripped down Latin music.

This is a film about an approach to healing, and the journey a woman embarks upon to receive it, albeit an unexpected one. It humors the comforting notion that there is a place out there that if we can just get to will absolve us of our problems, though perhaps in some cases the greater part of the healing takes place along the way.

TRT: 19 minutes
Language: Spanish w/ English subtitles

No comments: