Mist in Berlin: BRUMA

By Hammurabi Hernández

Still from Max Zunino’s BRUMA

In the closing of BRUMA by Mexico resident and Uruguayan director Max Zunino, the viewer is informed that the recently watched film was performed using improvisation techniques. It is a notice that helps recognise its production conditions: an intense location management, low lighting, hand-held camera and situations in which characters engage in long conversations throughout the city. However, it also allows us to understand that we are dealing with an open-ended story, that of a Mexican girl (Sofía Espinosa) who in a moment of crisis travels to Berlin to find the father she never knew in order to rethink her place in the family dynamic. It is a film inspired by a recent German cinema movement that focuses on creative openness and transcending budgetary constraints.

The problem is that the film responds to a distorted idea of improvisation and instead delivers an imposed drama, unable to arouse any sort of interest or empathy. Instead of feeding the creative process of actors to create suspense conditions, the film limits itself to seeing them react and assumes the role of an intransigent tourist before a city that always responds with generosity. At times the film is enticing when the transgender artist Dieter Sit Scholl appears, but her scenes are scarce and the observations on the city’s sexual scene become diluted among the whims of the characters. The care and precision that Zunino delivered in his previous feature film, LOS BANISTAS, has now been left adrift.