Bungee To The Beyond

****

Reviewed by: Andrew Robertson

Bungee To The Beyond
"That this manages to be so heartwarming is down to an ensemble effort, the cast's chemistry convinces and so too decisions made behind the camera about what to show and what not to."

Even over the production credits we are given an introduction, a last wish to be fulfilled. Emmanual wanted to go bungee jumping, and his friends will make that possible. The one complication? It might have been on his bucket list, but he's already kicked it.

Shot in a documentary style, GoPro or equivalent seen mounted on the bonnet, handheld cameras with conversations, corpses hastily crammed into car boots, close and tight and personal. Much like the friendships we see, reminiscences of their time with 'Emma'. Shared childhoods, antics at school, a constant fondness.

At one point the question, "What's stupid?" is asked, and you know, this is. Not in a bad way, indeed its very ridiculousness gives it the chance to say something profound. This is the world after Jackass, where rhyme and reason can be allowed to slip and slide. There's a discussion of what amounts to power of attorney and executry for something as absurd as this. There's a brilliant bit of interstitial text that complements the unseen cameraman's voiceover with a very particular matter of factness. Or fictiveness?

The subtitles suffer a little from the usual difficulties - shuffled off the mortal coil though he may be, he's still a friend and not a fiend. Thre's also a bit where I'm sure I missed something, as even I can't quite bridge the gap between "he's stinking" and "yeah, Scotland's worst".

There is a latticed bungee structure like two cranes surprised in the act of making babies outside the hotel Fiestamericana. On it a digital billboard, but no Heineken advert ever gave the same sense of camraderie as this. The sun sets over the sea of Acapulco and brings with it peace.

Ian Garcia Varona writes/directs/etcetera, a not uncommon set of skills in shorts. Also sometimes credited as El Huitzo, I am not sure if it's derived from the place or the Zapatee for 'High Sentinel' that gives it its name, nor if it's some reference to Huitzilopochtli an Aztec god of the sun (and inevitably war). It doesn't really matter because whatever nomenclature or title we use he has created something amusing, affecting.

In part it's because the stakes are so small. There's nothing riding on this like the interlocking criminal schemes of Weekend At Bernie's other than their own promises to their friend. From that shared bond comes something worth sharing.

Antonio Avila's score has a gentle melancholy to it, if stringed instruments can be tuned to wistful they have achieved that. That this manages to be so heartwarming is down to an ensemble effort, the cast's chemistry convinces and so too decisions made behind the camera about what to show and what not to. That this is absurd is a given - three friends are taking a fourth to fulfill a final wish, but a little late. The logistics of it, from supermarket ice to unspecified fees, are secondary to the logic of it. Bungee To The Beyond does not require suspension of disbelief, it benefits from the nature of its cameras and the quality of its construction. It does, however, require a leap of faith, that something that seems so silly could be something else. That it achieves, and one cannot help but fall for its charms.

Reviewed on: 12 Oct 2021
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Friends help fulfill a dying wish, but they're not the only ones late to do so.

Director: El Huitzo

Writer: El Huitzo

Starring: Emmanuel Giménez, Jonathan Marino, Edgar Ramos, Adrián Rojas

Year: 2020

Runtime: 14 minutes

Country: Mexico

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