Title: Wild Tales (Relatos Salvajes)

Director: Damián Szifrón

Starring: Ricardo Darín, Óscar Martínez, Leonardo Sbaraglia, Érica Rivas, Rita Cortese, Julieta Zylbergberg, Darío Grandinetti.

‘Wild Tales’ (Relatos Salvajes) is a beautifully cynical Argentine black comedy drama, that has been selected as the Argentine entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 87th Academy Awards.

The movie can boast the blessing of producers Pedro and Agustín Almldóvar, who teamed up with co-producers Hugo Sigman, Matías Mosteirín, Esther García, Claudio Belocopitt, Gerardo Rozín. The cast (Ricardo Darín, Óscar Martínez, Leonardo Sbaraglia, Érica Rivas, Rita Cortese, Julieta Zylbergberg, Darío Grandinetti), is absolutely brilliant in giving life to the wildest and darkest sides of the human soul.

Written and directed by Damián Szifrón, the anthology film collects six standalone tales, where the leading theme is savage vengeance. ‘Pasternak’ is set on a plane, where all passengers gradually find out they are somehow connected to the same person who is scheming a collective revenge… ‘Las Ratas’ (The Rats) features a usurer who stops at a small restaurant by the highway. The waitress recognises him as a man who had ruined her family, she refuses the cook’s offer to mix rat poison in his food, but the cook will do otherwise… ‘El más fuerte’ (The strongest) features two men driving cars on a lone highway. What initially starts as a speed squabble between drivers will evolve in a mortal combat… ‘Bombita’ (Little bomb) features a demolitions expert whose car is towed away for parking while he’s picking up the cake for his daughter’s birthday. He goes to the towed-car lot and argues but to no avail. His inclination to fighting the system will lead him to zany riot impulses with conspicuous consequences… ‘La Propuesta’ (The proposal) features an adolescent from a rich family who hits a pregnant woman with his dad’s car, and drives away without helping her. He drives home and wakes his parents to tell them what happened. His father calls his lawyer and they hatch a plan to have their gardener take the blame and go to jail for the crime, in return for payment, the negotiation will become so eager that the father will be tempted to have his son turn himself in… The final story, ‘Hasta que la muerte nos separe’ (Until death do us part), takes place during a wedding party. The wife discovers that her new husband had been cheating on her with a girl who is at the wedding, her reaction will go from desperation, to vindictive folly, with a remarkably unexpected grand finale…

So far the movie has collected a wide variety of praises from the film critics on Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic, besides having participated at 2014’s Cannes Film Festival, Toronto International Film Festival and San Sebastián’s International Film Festival.

‘Relatos Salvajes’ is deliciously despicable, and reminds that revenge is a dish best served cold even though it’s not healthy or edifying, especially when inequality, injustice and the demands of the world we live in overcome us.

Technical: B+

Acting: A

Story: A-

Overall: A-

Written by: Chiara Spagnoli Gabardi


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By Chiara Spagnoli Gabardi

Chiara Spagnoli Gabardi, is a film critic, culture and foreign affairs reporter, screenwriter, film-maker and visual artist. She studied in a British school in Milan, graduated in Political Sciences, got her Masters in screenwriting and film production and studied at the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute in New York and Los Angeles. Chiara’s “Material Puns” use wordplay to weld the title of the painting with the materials placed on canvas, through an ironic reinterpretation of Pop-Art, Dadaism and Ready Made. She exhibited her artwork in Milan, Rome, Venice, London, Oxford, Paris and Manhattan. Chiara works as a reporter for online, print, radio and television and also as a film festival PR/publicist. As a bi-lingual journalist (English and Italian), who is also fluent in French and Spanish, she is a member of the Foreign Press Association in New York, the Women Film Critics Circle in New York, the Italian Association of Journalists in Milan and the Federation of Film Critics of Europe and the Mediterranean. Chiara is also a Professor of Phenomenology of Contemporary Arts at IED University in Milan.

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