By: Henry J. Fromage (Two Beers) –
For this Argentinian arthouse film, Kekszakallu sure is a curious title. For one, it’s not Spanish, but rather Hungarian, the original title of Bartok’s famous opera better known as Bluebeard, in which the titular blue-bearded man marries and buries a series of wives.
Nope, nothing to be concerned about here…
Kekszakallu the film also centers on entrapped women, but of a different sort… or at least it seems it does. The plot takes its time setting in motion, and follows several young women as they come to age and suffers various degrees of ennui.
First-time narrative film director Gaston Solnicki stated that he wanted to retain the atmosphere of horror of the Opera coupled with his own characters, and while I’m not sure I read outright horror in the tone he achieves, it’s a transporting one nonetheless as the mesmerizing pacing coupled with sound and image really sucks you in- there’s not much else like it out there.
Solnicki is clearly fascinated with processes and movement, often taking lengthy digressions from the plot to focus on the skills of a keymaker or exterminator, or the motions of kids jumping like soldiers or lemmings off the diving board, or the intricate inner workings of a sausage factory. Whatever he trains his camera on, though, the true attraction of this film is his and co-DP Diego Poleri and Fernando Lockett’s unique and arresting framing and long-take cinematography, paired beautifully with ambient sound design or Bartok’s Bluebeard opera. This is a truly gorgeous film that will show you things you’ve never seen before on screen.
As I hinted at before, I’m not sure what Bluebeard has to do with this film terribly (there’s no imminent danger here), and mileage will vary for the oblique arthouse-adverse.
Kekszakallu is arthouse cinema at its finest and most artsy- a visual poem jam-packed with stunning imagery. Catnip for film junkies.
Kekszakallu (2017) Drinking Game
Take a Drink: for every pool scene
Take a Drink: whenever the framing is so interesting you’re mesmerized
Take a Drink: whenever the young girl stares off into the distance
Do a Shot: for Opera