Quickcard Review - 46th Chicago International Film Festival CLICK HERE for complete coverage of the Chicago International Film Festival (CIFF 2010)
Of Love and Other Demons
Directed by: Hilda Hidalgo Cast: Eliza Triana, Pablo Derqui, Joaquin Climent Running Time: 1 hr 35 mins Rating: NR Release Date: TBD
PLOT: A young girl is confined to a convent after she is bitten by a rabid dog and is thought to be possessed. While there she falls in love with the priest who is trying to save her.
WHO'S IT FOR? Fans of coming-of-age tales will more than likely appreciate this or fans of Gabriel Garcia Marquez may enjoy this adaptation. For those who were impressed with the visual style of The fall this film bears a striking resemblance in some ways.
Of Love and Other Demons tackles some tough subjects to be covered in a 95 minute movie. It attempts t detail a young girl's sexual awakening, a priest's unbridled passion, and a father's inability to come to terms with his own helplessness. All of these are compelling subjects that deserve movies of their own, but Hidalgo does what she can. She proves herself particularly adept at tackling all of these story lines with a certain ease that is uncommon in most modern filmmakers. It feels as if each chapter of the story unfolds with an almost indescribable grace. In short, of Love and Other Demons is a beautiful demonstration of the emotional potency of film.
However, credit shouldn't be given solely to Hidalgo. Eliza Triana as the film's young female protagonist has an innocence and almost cluelessness to her that makes her both sweet and pitiable. As the film progresses and she begins to come into her own, the facade of innocence slowly begins to melt away and a confident young woman who is a victim of circumstances beyond her control begins to emerge. It is this transformation from innocence to awareness that makes the movie so engaging. Another crucial player in the film is Pablo Derqui, who plays the priest. His struggle to assert himself into the church, that would rather continue to lock up a young girl than admit their own wrongdoing, is the central conflict for the character. In fact, the love interest that develops between the two, although palpable early on, doesn't become explicit until much later. The fact that the love story is secondary and these characters' inner conflicts takes up the bulk of the movie was refreshing, but for some, it may prove tedious. Whichever camp people may fall into, Of Love and Other Demons remains a beautifully acted and often times engaging character study of a young girl who emerges a sexually realized woman and the conflicted man who helps her.
Although the characters are an indispensable part of the story, the setting itself must be paid proper attention. The scenery itself is utterly intoxicating, filled with vivacious colors and some dazzling visual effects. This makes the stark contrast between the great outdoors and the confinement of the convent even more apparent. Of Love and Other Demons effectively uses the juxtaposition which, much like the protagonist, makes the audience long for the beauty of the outdoors.
In the end, of Love and Other Demons may be deemed too slow for some, but for those with the patience for character studies, it's a beautiful piece. As it wanders from one story to the next, the audience never loses sight of its focus on the characters. There are times when it may be easy to get lost in the imagery, but Hidalgo does an excellent job of focusing her narrative and establishing a visual magical realism that would do Gabriel Garcia Marquez proud.
FINAL SCORE: 8/10