Log #8

by Pablo Roldán


Pablo Aguilera’s new film, Your demon eyes, arrives at BAFICI, in the Avant Garde & Genre section, after passing through Rotterdam.
We begin in what we suspect is a train or a vehicle in movement and we assist to a sort of session between our protagonist and his psychologist. The camera introduces us to only Oliver’s face (played by Julio Perillán), as in a confrontation; he has little room to breathe and the signs are everywhere: the life of this man, which we sense is already disorganized, is about encounter the shadow of horror. Simulating and ad that has been crossed out at some desk or worktable, the title of the film appears after Oliver makes a strange confession triggered by a childhood memory.

The film relies on its provocative, stimulating and perverse storyline: a man watching a porn video recognizes the woman on the scene: it is his sister. In Oliver’s usual tour on pornographic sites he finds a video, shot in amateur style, where he thinks he recognizes the woman that is being recorded. He watches it a number of times and, pausing it, finds a certain connection with that body. Her eyes never stop looking at him; that gaze seems to be enough to possess and imprison Oliver. Is that where the devil lies, according to what the title insinuates? Whatever the case, the contact with those eyes on the screen mark the decline of the character. His spirit, it seems, will no longer belong to him. He decides to get back in touch with his sister and clear up some doubts (if there are any).

Ruled by desire, Oliver’s older brother instinct to take care of his younger –in this case very much younger – sister is corroded before our eyes. What starts as an unprecedented, awkward surveillance ends up as something perverse and poisonous. In his film, Aguilera seems to be screaming that there is no body that can resist the physicality that a woman (even your sister) can offer.

The films starts to question the places of desire and of sex, yet a while later begins to break down with its banal presentations. There is not a single trace of a mise-en-scene, complex or defined by a stronger judgement than wanting to terrify or seduce the spectator through situations that are more familiar to pornography than to film. Sexual acts are recorded without insinuations, without a direction, in the least elegant manner, what ends up knocking down some interesting ideas on the ways of control displayed in certain previous scenes.

That tone of mystery and of control that the film maintained suffers so as not to crack. There, where chaos threatens to explode, the film loses it: the actors go crazy and the sense of uncertainty becomes all shouting and exaggerated superficiality. Everything converts into nonsense, into a mere basic provocation; not even the “instinct” is looked at with the rigour it deserves.
This is surprising coming from a director that in his first film, La Influencia, had shown a skill to swim in the waters of the uncertainty of family ties as well as an unrestrained power over cinematic forms.

After wandering through the typical scenes of teenage movies (our protagonist receives inappropriate comments at the library, her best friend betrays her, her mother decides to lock her up in her room because of her “bad behaviour”), the film refuses to go deeper into the consequences of going against the flow. The basic and highlighted provocation appears to be the main motivation of this film.

The film ends with a quote of Cannibal Holocaust (which is also somewhat forced). We hear in the background: “punishment for adultery, you better enjoy”. All while we see that sister who, now a complete Lolita, tries to go on with her life.

Tutor, Quintín
Talent Press Coordinator/Programmer, Mariángela Martínez Restrepo
Text Translator, Clara Picasso