Thursday, March 3, 2016

Hèctor Hernández Vicens' THE CORPSE OF ANNA FRITZ: winner (so far) of this year's "Transgressive Award"

Things do seem to come in pairs -- if not trios. Just yesterday, we covered one of the most transgressive films to be seen in some time: Emelie. Now, but one day later, we've got an even more transgressive movie to bask in (or avoid): THE CORPSE OF ANNA FRITZ. It begins very cleverly and economically (we're talking quite a low budget here) with the body of a young woman being wheeled into the morgue of a Spanish hospital, accompanied by a soundtrack that quickly lets us know, via the voices of newscasters and celebrity TV hosts, to whom this body belonged.

Yes, it's that titular Anna Fritz, the most popular, glamorous and "accomplished" movie and TV star of the day who earlier this evening has "been found dead in a bathroom at a private party." This set-up by Hèctor Hernández Vicens, shown at left, who is the film's director and co-writer (along with newcomer Issac P. Creus) has been so quickly and effectively accom-plished that we know literally everything we need to proceed. Cut to a young morgue attendant named Pau (Albert Carbó, below), alone and eager to explore, who takes the corpse's picture on his cell phone and of course texts it to his two friends, who immediately show up for a dead-celebrity look-see.

That the location of the hospital to which the corpse has been taken is being kept secret from the press proves quite a boon to the soon-to-be-hatched plans of these three young men (not to mention the entire plot of the film), and the fact that these three seem initially like super-sleazy, narcissistic assholes means that, whatever might happen to them, we won't give a fig. Pau's mates are played with nasty entitlement by Cristian Valencia (below, center) and with an interesting mix of would-be machismo and late-breaking humanity by Bernat Saumell (below, right).

That corpse is played by a young woman named Alba Ribas, whom I hope we'll be seeing more of in better circumstances. The plot, which I will not go into further, takes some very clever turns -- if you can accept the initial surprise, which, though very unlikely, is, I suppose, remotely possible in the grand scheme of things. There is also, maybe midway along, a single unbelievable action (non-action, actually) that might be a deal-breaker for some.

Yet the movie is, for its genre, so well-written, directed and acted by its quartet of performers that it is pretty damned easy to just "forgive and get on with it." It is also -- especially its pivotal scene -- so very transgressive that it may take your breath away. One could compare this movie to a Canadian film of 20 years back starring Molly Parker and Peter Outerbridge that dealt with a similar topic but in a serious, heartfelt manner (I will not give away of the title of that film for fear of spoiling the surprises in store).

Yes, there are the usual unbelievable touches here, as just about always happens in films like this. (Where in hell is the hospital staff during the prime time of the evening?) But these are rather expected, no? What Senor Vicens does with his tale is what counts, and he manages to keep us alert and holding our breath for most of the movie's 74 minutes.

His ending, by the way, seems terrifically appropriate and darkly just: by turns surprising, ugly, and fearlessly feminist in a manner to which only the most stupid of males will be able to object. That ending, in fact, leads us right into tomorrow's post -- whoops, make that the day after tomorrow, as I had to make room for a quick post on Gods of Egypt -- which will cover a documentary, The Mask You Live In, all about what is so very wrong with today's men in western society. See you then....

Meanwhile, The Corpse of Anna Fritz, distributed via FlixFling, will hit the streaming venue this coming Tuesday, March 8. You can view it exclusively on FlixFling.

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