Perpetual Sadness or The numb soul.

Amado Cabrales of the Guadalajara Talent Press reviews Jorge Pérez Solano's LA TIRISIA

Jorge Pérez Solano's LA TIRISIA

A plastic bag caught in a cactus, a town in the desert trapped on replay, in the recursive need to leave. The hope is a yellow Bug (VW sedan) that passes by from time to time at election season, or in the form of a plane that echoes in the silent desert. LA TIRISIA México, 2013 (The hopelessness México 2013) maternity will traps us in the image captured in the act of shooting, in which the dialogue leads us but preponderates. Maternity in the desert, where the eternal sadness is treated with ritual solemnity, where the outlines of a life outside it’s a mare show are just passing and leaving town.

Director Jorge Pérez Solano shows the absence of the soul in the body, the grief and conflicts of motherhood from a visual, clear narrative, full of symbolism, playing with the editing, creating comparisons, metaphors and observations purely visuals in which the words, are not enough to emerge. The characters because of the lack of oral fluency are introduced by only gestures, a pregnant woman who scratches her nose when she is anxious; the phrase "volando bajo” (flying low) on the windshield of a pickup truck, a tag of “princess” on a motorcycle, a tune.

There is a game between what we see and what we don´t see on the screen. What we see is the desert, its aestheticism in the contemplative nature of the camera, we do not see the violence, it is only rarely observed in a mirror, in the constant presence of the military at the desert. We do not see the moment when Cheba, mother of two children and wife of Carmelo, (who is in the U.S.) and Angeles (Silvestre´s Stepdaughter) become mothers, allowing us to glimpse with sounds, with the look in the eyes of Sylvester´s wife. There is a certain numbness of action; a miss of action in the vastness of the desert, the heat; the embarrassment and disgust are constant in the characters, as close observation of the shots. The characters are represented in silence, with phrases that can be read from the shoots or by the gestures that they perform; for instance, Silvestre "flies low" (as we can read in his truck) but looks with enthusiasm up at the sky when a plane is going by; Cheba who is looking at a bag stocked in a cactus, and scratching her nose; Canelita driving a motorcycle with a tag that says "princess" and have two butterflies on the handlebars; Angeles is who drops herself into the salts for hours in total silence, total absence.

Angeles has been practically forced to be a mother, has been raped by her own stepfather, this leads her into Tirisia (hopelessness), the cruel fate that´s coming her way and keeps her living the same torment, in which her mother is conscious of the situation . Angeles drops herself into a pile of salt, a product of the desert and a product of her family´s work, the only refuge of the absence of her soul.

Cheba, has been the mother of two children, their umbilical cords are hanging from the tree next to the house, tree on which will hung the next child umbilical cord. Carmelo does not know that his wife is going to be a mother again, the constant vibrations of the phone denotes his presence and warns us his imminent return .La Tiricia (The hopelessness), unlike Angeles, comes with the birth of her son, another difficult labor, unassisted, in the solitude of the place, Canelita only helps her at the end. The structure of the film is divided into months, ranging from May to November and neglecting to mention the months of September and October. Each month has a religious connotation subtitle, reaching until purgatory, the eternal Tirisia (hopelessness). The presence of the church has an important place in the film, Zapotitlán, families attend its earthy esplanade as meeting place or a space for events.This is where, for the first time the mothers on the screen found each other, -and perhaps one of the only moment that they will be together- while everyone watches the church father died. Canelita finds himself at the edge religion (the church), but he hears the bells at the distance just after saying good bye to his lover, a soldier.

The storm breaks at the desert, in the characters the tension is building up, the Tiricia (the hopelessness), manifested in Cheba when she leaves her son with Silvestre, because Carmelo is back, this act; consumes her. And hurts her deeply being intimate with Carmelo, her body betrays her, she feels no pleasure with her husband and her breast spilled milk, even though she has tried to empty them meanwhile her baby shrieks of hunger at Silvestre´s home. Angeles does not know how to deal with two babies and can´t breastfeed either because the food would not come out. The silence and the wide horizons of the desert are just other characters in the story. The image is divided into frames allowed by analogies, by transitions; convey feelings and information that the word hardly tells us. Each image is loaded with symbolism; the shot after Carmelo´s return home, the birds in the cage; petals on the river are constants, the tiricientas (the hopeless ones) are not an isolated event, it is something that it repeats itself in the village.

God looks down in a zenith shot from above to Cheba just after leaving her son, just before getting Tiricia (The hopelessness), he looks, but does not answer. The events that break the months filled with religiousness, moral and cyclic loads break into small moments of color in the community: the bright orange shirts and political posters, the happy yellow VW Beetle sounding through the dust. A green poster lost in the caravan of clowns warns us that these insignificant facts, these shows of humanity, do not change Zapotitlan.

But the Tirisia (The hopelessness) does not happen only to women, it turns man sleepy as well, sedated by the desert, remain in their inertia, they are insensitive to others. They, like most of the people, just look roughly to the desert; they look at the inhospitable and try to escape from it. The salt, as a desert´s product, goes well with this bitter feeling. Canelita is the counterpart, the camera follows him in his careful movements when extracts sweetness and nutritiousness from the desert, this shots are close ups of the fruits, looking at the details of a full living space. Canelita´s name reveals him, he is the opposite to bitterness, to hopelessness, he is whom sees the butterfly leaving from Cheba´s soul, he is who carefully takes chewing gum boxes to collect caterpillars from the desert, he is who helps Cheba´s to carry on with the ritual of petals at the river and birds at the doors, to release the hopelessness to get her soul back.

Cheba had the ritual, but won’t improve, however, Carmelo has realized the existence of Tadeo, a child that is not theirs, but their presence does permeate the entire relationship and their marriage. Angeles have made the decision to leave, a smile in her face, lets us know that, in the long process of accepting her condition, she has become a mother. It is possible to assert the importance of the images capital over the words, the action happens outside the lens, tries to flood the viewer's eyes, making the desert enter us, it confers a kind of nostalgia inherent in its landscape, but that what also allows the picture, taking whatever decision at the desert, whether is salt or fresh fruit that has been hidden in the bushes.

By Amado Cabrales.