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Intacto (2001)
Some are born with luck. Others gamble for it.
Director: Juan Carlos Fresnadillo
Science Fiction

An enigmatic tale of four people whose lives are intertwined by destiny are subject to the laws of fate. They discover that luck is something they cannot afford to be without as they gamble with the highest stakes possible in a deadly game from which only one of them will emerge intact.

Intacto (2001)

Shoot the Picture

There are a few good filmmakers alive now, ones I credit. Mostly they are distributed in accidental pools of the industry, a couple in Hong Kong, a master in Amsterdam, a few passing through Hollywood it seems. Singles here and there. But there are three film communities that when I enter them, I feel as if I am entering a magical kitchen of imagemaking shared by a single family. The blood pumping between one pair of lovers, the enhanced tongue of another, the wild creative dialogue about spices among a young crowd in the corner — each of these somehow providing juices I will taste.

One of these kitchens is Australian, another Canadian (oh how puzzling!). But this big saucy one is Spanish, with emissaries all over the Americas. Not every Spanish film is nourishing, but when I find one that has serious ambitions, it more often than not inherits all the smells, traditions and many of the skills of that kitchen, that world.

Superficially, this is an ambitious project, with a young filmmaker whose visual skills aren’t unusual, and he has been helped by a crew that pulls off most of the cinematic needs of his scenes. The techniques themselves aren’t very striking.

See this. It is not full of new ways of seeing story, as you find with Medem. It has no novel parallel narratives as you’ll often find. But it parallels it does have, else it wouldn’t be in this tradition I like so much of magical overlays of reality, up and down.

What is striking is the typically Spanish shape of the thing. Folded realities, agents of fate placed among us, the narrative as game that includes a game. The tokens of the game as images and placed in images we “win.” Some players as noir characters, others as filmmakers in the thing.

This juxtaposition of noir-related game with gambling with images with conflating images in the film with images of the film is unique. Remember when you saw the first film of a gifted filmmaker, and began a rewarding life with a new friend? Here’s one for you, a new friend. I do not think he will disappoint.

Posted in 2006

Ted’s Evaluation — 3 of 3: Worth watching.


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