- I’m hoping Martel’s formal approach continues to grow on me with repeat viewings because she’s not really interested in narrative (which is fine on its own) and when you combine that with the largely unspecial visuals it’s not really a great start and basically eliminates it from the type of film that can make a year-end top 10
- That said, the formal elements I do admire are clear- this is a lampooning of colonialism through an absurd character- Zama. It’s not really that funny or as sharp as Bunuel’s best work- but clearly Martel has seen and admired films like Viridiana, The Exterminating Angel and The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie– in fact, I could see Fernando Rey playing Zama here
- There’s Kafka here as well- her lead is caught here in this place- unable to escape- he fights with someone and as a punishment to the other person, the other person is forced to leave (which is what he wants)—from the beginning with the embarrassing sequence where he’s caught as a peeping tom “voyeur”- the film is really a series of exchanges (most rather interesting on their own without the collective) where he gets egg on his face. I see her larger point—and again like that the conditions worsen over the period of the film (there’s sickness, the house is rotting (great shot here)_– but there’s no reason the individual sequences on their own need to be so damn opaque—there’s a hazy meandering quality to it all
- Even in death he can’t win- he’s left limbless still stuck
- Like La Cienga it shows the ugly, unclean elite here- the films are connected- I love the wigs here as a metaphor—they are on, but constantly unclean, laying disheveled, and comedic
from Cinephile— Feb 11, 2020
@Drake- The first and last shot are gorgeous, the scenes at the final minutes are wonderful, especially when Zama is being captured and they cut off his hands, the shot when the men cross the river with the horses is gob-smacking, again the shot where Zama stands on a rock and a ship passes by in the sea is excellent. I was blown away by the simplicity of the film, the interior shots are photographed with purity, the lighting combined with the cinematography is absolutely fantastic. Also the voyer scene is pretty interesting. There are more, but those stand out.