Maria Delgado (Professor of Drama and Theatre Arts, Queen Mary’s, University of London, UK)
1. La Influencia (Pedro Aguilera, Spain/Mexico)
First seen at the Director’s Fortnight in Cannes, Aguilera crafts a taut, devastating and brilliantly unsentimental portrait of a single mother’s depression and its consequences on her two young children. Produced by Reygadas (and the influence is palpable), the film also evokes Bresson and Tarkovsky – the non-professional actors give beautifully unmannered performances and the visual style evokes Russian religious icons – and it’s all brought together in a cinematic language that Aguilera makes all his own.
Here’s a review by Jonathan Holland:
Taking a simple situation — a single mother living with her kids — and exploring its downside to the ultimate consequences, Pedro Aguilera’s “The Influence” ends up somewhere between a homage to the later movies of Robert Bresson, a grueling psychodrama, a Gothic horror and a savage indictment of society. Dramatically wobbly and sometimes unconvincing, this potent and disturbing item still exerts a powerful pull, particularly in its later stages. Commercial prospects are slimmer than slim, but edgier fests could bite. (link) Continue reading