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Grimmfest 2021 Film Feature - Forgiveness

Directed by: Alex Kahuam

Written by: Alex Kahuam

Starring: Alejandra Toussaint, Alejandra Zaid, Jessica Ortiz, Horacio Castelo, Laura de Ita

 


 

Synopsis: Three women mysteriously wake up in a hospital and discover that one of them is deaf, one is mute, and the other one is blind; together, they will have to figure out why they are there and how to get out.


Grimmfest say: See No Evil, Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil. An existential, allegorical spin on the much-maligned so-called “torture porn” sub-genre, this is SAW by way of Sartre and De Sade. A breakneck and brutal tale of exploitation and damnation, filled with surreal, disorientating imagery and heavy religious symbolism, it has the relentless, remorseless logic of a nightmare; the fluid, constantly moving camera, the cramped, enclosed locations, and oppressive score generating a palpable sense of claustrophobic discomfort. And it has absolutely no dialogue until the very last scene, which makes it all the more unsettling and alienating, forcing the viewer constantly to reassess what is happening and why. Balancing bravura cinematic technique with a ferocious commitment to his vision of hell, Writer-Director Alex Kahuam delivers a brutal gut-punch of a film, What might have seemed, in lesser hands like an extended exercise in tormenting, brutalising and terrorising women, achieves the same dark sense of transcendence as MARTYRS; given intellectual weight by the underlying metaphysical and philosophical argument, and humanised by the extraordinary performances of the three leads, able to convey so much without words. In short, it's a hell of a movie.


What I'm expecting: I can't say I'm a fan of the "torture porn" sub-genre, nor of the Saw franchise, or, indeed, of films with "heavy religious symbolism"; it's been done to death over the years. However, I'm really intrigued by the idea of these three women, one deaf, one blind and one mute, having to work together in a fight for survival, and how the theme of exploitation plays into this. It's a bold move: there are a lot of heavy subjects to tackle there, which could quickly devolve into an unpleasant and ill-natured state. The fact that there's so little dialogue throughout the film is also an incredibly bold move: it could well be the making or breaking of the piece, as the whole movie depends on the actors' physicality and ability to portray, what sounds to be, some pretty heavy, emotional material. It might not necessarily sound like my kind of film at first glance, but there's a lot to be excited about here, a lot I think could work so well. I'm apprehensive about Forgiveness, but I've been wrong before, and I'm more than happy to be proven wrong again!

 

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