Saturday, April 24, 2010
Thursday, April 22, 2010
(not to mention that sci-fi phenom Federico Alvárez will shoot part of the feature-length version of his extremely virulent short Panic Attack! in Uruguay later this year, too)
The story of La Casa Muda centers on a father and daughter team who settle into a dilapidated cottage to begin to make some much-needed repairs. And as an organically built-in metaphor to the director's land-locked country, that is surrounded on three sides by Brazil and Argentina, the protagonists soon find themselves with only one possible way out of their dire dilemma - directly through the unknown evil force that threatens their very existence. The story, we are told, is based on true events that took place in Uruguay in 1944. This detail makes the premise instantly all the more intriguing in The Blair Witch Project kind of way (but hopefully with a genuine payoff). And given what we've seen so far, we think there will be.
La Casa Muda is shot in a single, continuous 78-minute take using a digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) Canon's D5—a still camera with the added capacity to shoot full 1080 HD video (part of that 'more or less' equation). The film's look is a marvel given the technology utilized (the D5s were first generation, buggy and tempermental units) and the credit goes to cinematographer Pedro Luque. Producer Gustavo Rojo also needs to be singled out for effectively managing such an enormouse orchastration and coming out the other side with a production as visually rich on only a shoe-string budget: around $6,000!
But apart from all the semantics, the film's real power lies its ability to take away our safety net by focusing on the true and tried basics of fear without relying on ungrounded gimmicks or CGI. It's hard to do that when the camera doesn't stop rolling. The filmmaker's astutely bill this as "Real fear in real time." What lies in the shadows is as important as what we are allowed to see; the mind fills in the blanks. And we cannot pause, rewind, or make it stop until its final conclusion.
Making us feel powerless in the dark, now that's true horror.
Ladies and gentlemen, Gustavo Hernández has left the building...