Enlightened Blood

Enlightened Blood


Reviewed by: Amber Wilkinson

"What happened?" a character asks in one of the early scenes of the film. By the end, you may well be asking that yourself.

At what point does the need for a storyline to begin to cohere outweigh one's enjoyment of superior technical direction? In the case of Enlightened Blood, that would be somewhere around the 50-minute mark.

Copy picture

Up until then, Iván Ávila Dueñas masterfully poetic camerwork carries you along, tantalisingly, dreaming that the shreds of story will soon find a critical mass. Sadly, enlightenment never comes.

Which is not to say that the film isn't in some ways enjoyable.

The story - even the term seems too concrete for use here - begins when Mateo (Gustavo Sánchez Parra) has a nosebleed and a seizure in a fountain. Next thing you know, we're with Hugo (Joustein Roustand), a little boy who tells his pal he is both himself and Mateo and - as if by magic - is now the owner of the locket Mateo was given by his wife and which carries both their photos.

The soul - if that is what this invisible essence can be called - is a sort of spiritual squatter, moving through various lives, each time experiencing love and longing, each time with the body inhabited coming to own the locket. When the 'spirit' moves on, the person who was there originally 'returns'. Or seems to, at least.

Every time you try stir up the mental agility to try get from A to B of this metaphysical conundrum, you reach: Why? Why is this spirit moving among people? Why does the locket, a very physical manifestation, go with it? Why do people's blood groups seem to change? Why is the camerawork so compelling despite the fact that the story is becoming annoying?

Dreamlike and with a haunting score, this is the archetypal festival film - interesting to look at, with direction showing a lot of promise. But though it invites - and could possibly reward - a second viewing, it is likely to leave many cinemagoers frustrated in terms of story.

Reviewed on: 23 Jun 2008
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Enlightened Blood packshot
A rupture in time and space unites six characters in huge life-altering ways.

Director: Iván Ávila Dueñas

Writer: Iván Ávila Dueñas, José Ignacio Valenzuela

Starring: Gustavo Sánchez Parra, Joustein Roustand, Enoc Leaño, Flor Payán, Jorge Zárate, Joaquín Cosio, Leticia Gutiérrez, Pilar Padilla, Raúl Méndez, Ari Brickman, Octavio Castro

Year: 2007

Runtime: 104 minutes

Country: Mexico


EIFF 2008

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