Friday, 14 June 2013

In a world without love - "Mala" [2013 Argentina]

s a screenwriter and director, Adrián Caetano has made some fine and memorable films in Argentina, but his latest crime-fantasy drama "Mala" [Eng. Title: Evil Woman] is likely to be remembered more as an oddity...

It begins with the words, "Once upon a time, in a world without love..." and proceeds to tell the story of a professional female assassin - Rosario, who caters to a clientèle made exclusively of scorned housewives. A paraplegic divorcee (Ana Celentano) hires Rosario to 'slowly' kill her former rancher-husband Rodrigo (Rafael Ferro), now happily married to a younger, prettier woman, and about to become a father. Rosario joins the ranch as a vet to try and get closer to Rodrigo, before the storyline veers off at a tangent...

I'd tried to make sense of the incoherent film but have since given up. For a start, we have no less than four different actresses playing the assassin Rosario - Liz Solari, Florencia Raggi, María Dupláa, and Brenda Gandini. I'm all for surrealism, but this isn't Caetano following on the footsteps of Buñuel's That Obscure Object of Desire. It isn't even tongue-in-cheek humour, but perhaps intended to signify the psychosis of both the Ana Celentano character and her former husband Rodrigo. But I doubt the director has pulled it off satisfactorily, due to factors like patchy performances, average cinematography, and more specifically the unconvincing screenplay. I wouldn't want to go into detailed analysis as I could be here all day; suffice to say that this is certainly not the best work from this otherwise fine director. I'd however heartily recommend his earlier films like Bolivia and Pizza, birra, faso...


The Nudity: María Duplaa and Florencia Raggi
There is brief nudity during a shower scene of Rosario where you have a braces-clad María Dupláa turn into a super-athletic Florencia Raggi. The film also features implied sex scenes like masturbation and female-on-male rape.

María Duplaa, Florencia Raggi and Ana Celentano in Mala

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