Documentary or performance?

by Yoshua Oviedo Ugalde

Watching the film Margarita (2016), by Bruno Santamaría Razo, prompts the necessary question: who directs who? The project formulates around the figure of 'Margarita', who the director knew since young and with whom he had established a family bond. The director depended on her availability.

This dubitative character about the filming process, transfers to the final result in which a camera is seen on a shoulder, moving arbitrarily as it follows the documentary's objective.

However, as Margarita starts talking about her life, the director goes from being a demiurge to being a character, thus holding a microphone. This shift is followed by a twist regarding who interviews who; from that moment, the protagonist starts asking questions, some are the product of her derangement, others are pertinent to the director's situation. To the extent where in one of the dramatic instances of the film, the camera passes through the director crying off-frame because he feels sad, while still showing Margarita.

This ambiguity misplaces the spectator, formally the camera has less movement, its static character results in a repetitive film about a well-off man who worries about the woman he has known since he was a child, and who he wants to help get a home, but she refuses to leave the streets.

The lack of a meta-view affects the work in general, the scenes that follow one another only show Margarita's extravagances, but little is know about her; not even when the film Eva y Darío (1973) directed by her uncle, Sergio Véjar has been seen, is Bruno Santamaría capable of contrasting the actress of the past, whose professional name was Vania Véjar, with the homeless woman of the present.

In view of all this, the director loses the voice of his own documentary, his discourse fades and becomes a sort of performance by Margarita, with the rest of the context out of frame. The city as a character gets lost in relation to Margarita's life.

The intended approach that the director tries to foster, sieves through his moral conscience, but for Margarita he remains a blonde who speaks with her and when she gets tired of the camera, she lets him know; consequently, the documentray ends as arbitrarily as it began.