Sante Sangre

Film, 1989

So I gave some thought to what this movie was “about”. Tried to figure out what the overriding theme, meaning or message was. I didn’t get very far. That’s not to say that it doesn’t have one. A smarter person than me could probably figure it out quicker, or I could devote some more time to it, but neither of those things is happening in my house tonight. The movie isn’t as surreal as I feel like people think it is. But maybe I’m imagining that perception of it. It’s not like people are knocking on my door on a Friday night to tell me that Sante Sangre doesn’t make any sense. One reason (among many) for that is because it does make sense. It’s pretty linear, really, and not even very opaque. There’s very little that happens that it isn’t immediately obvious why it’s happening, either because it’s progressing the plot or expressing the characters’ emotions. Okay, so I just talked a lot about what this movie isn’t, so let’s talk about what it is for a minute. Jorodowsy is one of those directors that even when his work is surreal, it still has the weight of purpose. The man has vision, whatever that means, and you never feel like you’re being shown a bunch of sketchbook images. It’s a narrative, even when it’s a naked man perched on a branch, you can sense the machinations behind it, even if you don’t quite know how they work. This weight of purpose allows us to give ourselves over to the film, which Jorodowsy uses to unsettle and horrify us. A lot of feelings watching this. None of them pleasant, but deeply felt. Not just scared or grossed out, I mean that happens too, but most notably deeply unsettled in a way that makes you feel like Jorodowsy is touching on not just your own but everyone’s subconscious.

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