Tuesday, 20 October 2009

gigante (d&w adrian biniez)

So, I was asked as we left the cinema by Mssrs W&P, was that a Montevideo you recognised?

To which the answer is in many ways no; in some ways yes; and as we all know, at the end of the day its irrelevant.

The no is easiest. One of the temptations of filming your hometown is to almost take ownership of it through the choice of what you show and what you don't show. Biniez resists this temptation. This is a neutral Montevideo, which doesn't attempt to capture the city's beauty and doesn't feature the city as a character. Even the two scenes on the Rambla are framed so that the rolling beach within the city is underplayed, in spite of (or perhaps because of) the sly significance the city's beaches are given within the narrative.

The yes is harder. Gigante is in essence a character study. The lumbering Jara, played with flashes of surprising humanity by Horacio Camandule, dominates. He's present in every scene, and the film obeys one of the diktats which states that movies should have a clear protagonist partaking of an understandable journey. In amongst this, there are a few glimpses of la vida cotidiana in Montevideo. Waiting for a bus; walking over cracked pavements; perhaps having too much time on your hands. But by and large, this is what they call a universal story, one that could be taking place almost anywhere.

Which is why any search to glimpse Montevideo through its lens is irrelevant. As well as being part of its artfulness. Gigante comes from the Stoll/ Rebella stable. Their art is to create small films, which glorify the common man or woman. Gigante shares Whisky's understated tone, and does what it does effectively. One is inclined to hanker for bigger themes, addressing wider material, but perhaps, in an evolving film industry, these will have to wait.

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