Perpetual Sadness and the power of ambivalence.

Celia Rodríguez Tejuca of the Guadalajara Talent Press 2014 reviews Jorge Perez Solano's LA TIRISIA.

Jorge Pérez Solano's LA TIRISIA

Attempting to demystify our beliefs as a society is always a risky project, especially when the myth in question is motherhood. This was the purpose of LA TIRISIA, 2014 (Perpetual Sadness, 2014) film from director Jorge Pérez Solano, presented in the Sección Oficial de Largometrajes Iberoamericanos de Ficción del 29 Festival Internacional de Cine en Guadalajara (Official Selection of Latin American Fiction Feature films in the context of the 29th International Film Festival in Guadalajara). The story takes us to a secluded village in the desert, where a political propaganda poster, ironically tells us that "the future is now". Time suffers of an unbearably quiet feeling. The aridity reigns and it goes deep into the spaces of a weary and dispirited existence. In that state of pure calm, the conflict of two women psychologically abused unfolds. They live their maternity dramatically in a fluctuating voltage between life and death as subjects.

But this is not the only counterpoint that is experienced with the film; there are also two ways to travel between the image processing and the personal history of these young girls. Photography has endeavored to point out a precious way the wide open hills covered with cactus, an appearance that is aggressive on the one hand, but at the same time maintains a vertical rhythm that turns what has been shown into a pleasant environment It is about symbolizing with the phallic shape of the cactus the recurring presence of masculinity that overflows the world of these women, commented the films´s photography director César Gutiérrez Miranda, at a press conference. These girls get lost in the landscape, diluted as individuals.

Meanwhile, a thoroughly look to the interiors strives to form full color spaces and varied textures. The tragedy is then, eclipsed by the visibility of these contexts in which the drama unfolds. In fact, explicit violence is never expressed in the film, abandonment has been only suggested; the sexual rape has been hidden from us. Violence is a lot more subtle, we live then within the story itself: of the speak word as a communicative act that hurts in the eyes of sadness contained and in the effects of the crisis put into their personalities. Certainly, this causes an estrangement that helps reinforce the sense of bringing spiritual procession within.

Motherhood also causes a double effect. In one side we got Cheba, a character framed in the classic model of tragedy, awaiting along her children for her husband´s return and just had a third child from another man, a man of the village. This act of abdication suddenly causes her psychological death, an absence of belief and spiritual distress. A truly remarkable scene is that one, in which she lets go of the umbilical cord of her new born baby in the river. A sea of petals-tears is washed away with the last link that for a long time was her way to communicate to her descendant. In an opposite line is put Serafina, a young woman expecting a child, as a result of being raped by her own stepfather. At the beginning, she didn´t want to be a mother, but her son, brings her back to life. Somehow, she feels more like a person, feels pure like white salt and that helps her to decide determinedly to leave her unbalanced family behind, in which the mother also behaves slightly paradigmatically. Up until then they seemed women subject to a patriarchal order that exceeds, locked in their destiny, but Serafina comes to break the possibility of change, of a dream. The male counterpart also has its quirks, but it is fair to say that conflicts are minimized to the internal debate of women. Silvestre, the father of the two children, is the typical self-centered individual, drowned by the context in which he lives, eager to go to other places. His time goes by contemplating planes, taking certain nostalgia while the sing in his truck points out “volando bajo” (flying low). He experiences nostalgia for an unknown reality, but it certainly has a different rhythm, another cadency an urgent new dynamic.

In another sense, Canelita, Cheba´s homosexual friend is introduce to us, the one being in this dry world that breaths and sweets warmth and sweetness, the only person able to find life and food in the desert. He is the mere representative of the hopes in this world of weariness and dejection of the soul, but, is this character really happy? What is that positive spirit builds of?

Also, one of the notable elements in the film is the lack of sounds outside the narrative, all that is listen has its origins in the world of film, though is out of field or its place of entry is placed at the end of the previous scene. Undoubtedly, this resource provides a sound asceticism which causes a sense of reality, of freedom, of artifice and ends approaching us to the universe reported. Here the silence manages to express much more than a soft melody: a silence lapse that fills everything. Dilating time, and place our emotion in the most intimate places.

However, we could find weak points in the film like Canelita´s hidden relationship with a soldier just as the recurrent appearance of the army at the checkpoint located on the road. These intrusions make the story line less believable removing strength from a story that far from showing the everyday life of the place generates loose ends that bothered at the time of receipt. It doesn´t feel the same with the scenes of the square plaza and the church, which did come to complete understanding of the dynamics of the place, the expectations of its people, their beliefs and distractions in a closed context itself.

This way the film director has made a bold narrative exercise that serves as discursive strategy ambivalence, he complaints the oppression of Mexican women, when in time and space shows the act of abandonment that can make a mother of her children before social imperatives. Between the constant counterpoints, flow the emotions of this story, where the stream of hopeless moves between the cactus of desert spread and his discouragement to life...

Technical details: LA TIRISIA (Perpetual Sadness). Written and directed by Jorge Perez Solano. Production: César Gutiérrez Miranda and Jorge Pérez Solano. Photo: César Gutiérrez. Cast: Adriana Paz, Gustavo Sánchez Parra, Noé Hernández, Gabriela Cartol. México, 2014.

By Celia Rodríguez Tejuca