Buenas noches, España


Reviewed by: Amber Wilkinson

Buenas Noches, Espana
"Screenings of Buenas Noches Espana should come with a free dose of ibruprofen because there's a good chance you'll leave with a headache."

Screenings of Buenas Noches Espana should come with a free dose of ibruprofen because there's a good chance you'll leave with a headache. And that is just about all that you will take away from this experimental film that, for the first 40 or so minutes assaults you with eye-watering filters and a cacophonus, feedback-style industrial soundtrack intercut with the boings and whizzes most commonly associated with cartoon slapstick.

The Edinburgh Film Festival programme note - along with some pithy but esoteric intertitles, including the Jose Rizal quote: "Do not forget those who have fallen in the night" - suggests that the understanding of the piece hinges on a Filipino soldier stationed in 1593 Manila, who suddenly vanished and woke up in Mexico City and that this, therefore, is a study of both the possibilities of "non-traditional time travel" (because, of course, time travel is so very 'traditional') and that there is "an inherent connection between Spain and its former colonies". With me so far? The idea of exploring colonisation in terms of culture is interesting but it is so self-indulgently examined here that it renders itself virtually pointless.

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After an inexorably slow pull in on two lovers (Pilar López de Ayala and Andrés Gertrúdix) sitting in their living room shown, for reasons that are not readily apparent, in slight fast-forward, we watch them - filtered through pinks, yellows and blues - as they go on a road trip. The images loop round and show us them doing the same things over and over again, such as walking through a gallery and chasing one another round a rock.

The discordant music drifts in and out, cutting in with a vegeance periodically, presumably in a bid to wake those audience members who have found a brief respite in sleep.

Two other segments follow, as noise gives way to silence and colour to black and white in scenes from a beach and the moon dropping slowly into the frame.

Sitting through this sort of onslaught does have a kill or cure effect on audiences. I'd expect at least 10 walk outs wherever this plays, while those who persevere may well find themselves increasingly frustrated by the film's staunch resolution to give no quarter to a bewildered audience. Cryptic as to be almost impenetrable and with dubious artistic pretensions, Raya Martin's film would be better enjoyed as a series of (much shorter) shorts or in a gallery space, where people could dip in and dip out. One thing's for sure, those sticking it out in a cinema are likely to find themselves wishing for time travel... to the end credits.

Reviewed on: 26 Jun 2012
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Buenas noches, España packshot
Experimental film, addresses the shared history of Spain and the Philippines through the idea of time travel.

Director: Raya Martin

Writer: Raya Martin

Starring: Pilar Lopez de Ayala and Andres Gertrudix

Year: 2011

Runtime: 70 minutes

Country: Spain, Philippines


EIFF 2012

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