Dana Rotberg is definitely my favourite female director from the Latin Americas, even though I've seen only two of her three feature films to date - the other being the amazing "Ángel de Fuego". Her minimal edits and theatrical-style of direction make us delve into the characters and listen to what they have to say more closely. Her breathtaking films, quite unlike the philosophical arguments of a Catherine Breillat, have simple themes, and yet are intensely passionate. I sometimes wonder whether it is her films that has helped me understand women better.
Her 2001 film, "Otilia Rauda" aka "La Mujer del Pueblo", based on a beautiful novel, is the sensual but sad story of Otilia, a young woman with the most enviable body in the village, but as if to compensate for her extraordinary physical beauty, nature had cursed her with a hideous scar disfiguring her face. Her father, a wealthy landlord and mayor, unable to bear the frequent taunts by village-folk, gets her married to a local police officer.
But Otilia couldn't love him, and to make matters worse, he passes on a sexually transmitted disease that renders her infertile. An angry Otilia - angry not only at her husband for lost fertility, but also her parents for forcing her into a marriage with a philanderer, refuses to have sexual congress with her husband henceforth, and seeks her revenge the only way she could - by having sexual liaisons with anyone she desired. She spends her time either at her farm, or the local brothel - Otilia, brimming with sensuality, needs a release, and the brothel made an ideal outlet. Until she meets a bandit-fugitive, seriously wounded by the police. She hides him at her farm, nurses him back to health, and falls in love, fully aware her feelings are unlikely to be reciprocated. The tragic story leads to its logical conclusion, but not before it has given us an elegant insight into what it is to be Otilia.
Story apart, this film's screenplay is beautifully written and crafted - and Gabriela Canudas, with her heart-felt performance and the most amazing feminine body, bewitches us throughout this gem of a film. Needless to say, Highly Recommended Viewing..!
I had actually reviewed this film years ago, but I've re-cut the scenes from my excellent DVD, upon request by a follower of this blog. Aquí, amigo - escenas de "Otillia Rauda" - probablemente la mejor calídad puedes encontrar en cualquier lugar ahora!
Made from seven scenes. First is when a frustrated Otilia, craving for attention, flashes at the search party looking for her - she didn't feel like returning home after getting nowhere with her servant's son - the local idiot - who loves Otilia and is worried his big member will hurt her. In the next scene, newly married Otilia endures an ordeal with her policeman husband, Isidro. After she discovers her illness and infertility, she despises him and openly has sexual contact with other men - in the next scene she is with one such lover. She later reminds Isidro that he would only be able to see, but cannot touch her. Isidro then brings her a vicious present - a basket with two holes to wear as a mask - this way she 'could be' the most beautiful woman in the world. In the following scene, when told off by the madame of the brothel for hogging her customers - it is her birthday party after all - Otilia wears the basket and walks down the stairs fully naked before a shocked party audience. This is an awesome scene as Otilia takes her time coming down the stairs - Isidro, her hubby can now only watch, along with the other guests, in disbelief. In the final scene, Otilia protects and nurses fugitive Rubén, falling madly in love. She uses his hand while asleep to pleasure herself - even if there is no nudity here, this is a very erotic scene.
Focusing mainly on three scenes. The first is when Otilia bathes a recovering Rubén and also masturbates him. The second scene is the more interesting - Isidro sends the local priest to spy on Otilia - now that he is banned from her farm. Otilia asks the priest why he has suddenly made this 'courtesy' visit when he never bothered to drop in even for her parents' funeral. Since he had come specifically to see her, it must be for her body, she proclaims, and flashes her voluptuous nakedness to the priest and dares him to touch her. The priest almost does..! The final scene is of Rubén bidding goodbye to Otilia, they have sex for the final time.