The 58th Cork Film Festival (9 – 17 November)
Matt Micucci checks out Who is Dayani Cristal? by Marc Silver and Soldate Jeannette by Daniel Hoesl, which both screened as part of the 58th Cork Film Festival.
Who is Dayani Cristal? (Marc Silver)
A powerful documentary that will surely shed a new and more human light on a delicate issue that is often viewed from a safe and unflatteringly politicised distance. Marc Silver offers a remarkable insight on the migration of poverty stricken Latin Americans to the United States, but takes a look at it from a haunting and original perspective by focusing on its dangerous and often tragic journey.
Its starting point, in fact, comes from the decomposing corpses or remains of the dead travellers found on the Sonora desert and the retracing of one of those bodies in particular – whose only initial distinguishing trait is a tattoo of the words ‘Dayani Cristal’. It is this man’s story, in fact, that is portrayed harrowingly with three different approaches – a narrative one starring Gael Garcia Bernal, an investigative one as the body’s origins are retraced and an intimate one where his family and close friends are interviewed.
The result is at once entertaining, haunting and potent as well as very important and effective in raising awareness on the issue that works as a spotlight on a specific geographic area but could a easily take more universal meaning in the subject of migration.
Furthermore, through skill and sensibility, Silver totally avoids patronisation or even exploitation. Who is Dayani Cristal? offers a voice to the voiceless and a strong human standpoint that urges international dialogue.
Soldate Jeannette (Daniel Hoesl)
The story of Fanni and Anna, two women sickened by the lives they lead; the first lives a life of pretend luxury and another a life of squalor among the pigs and the cows in a slaughter farm. The two meet. It’s hard to believe that Rotterdam almost fooled everyone into thinking that this was a landmark work of modern experimental cinema when it awarded it the Tiger Award.
It is a goofy attempt at depth and substance inexplicably referring to Dreyer’s Joan of Arc but ending up being half the movie Thelma and Louise was. The worst part is that Hoesl would rather fool us into thinking that Soldate Jeannette is a fresh and original tribute to the experimental cinema of the European no-wave than come up with anything that really is original in form, theme and context.
It’s the type of film that burns fake money and kills real animals on screen. Disgusting. Some people will be fooled by its clever antics, but this is a kind of snobbish swindle and an insulting betrayal to innovation.