Karlovy Vary International Film Festival 2022
Antonio Durán, Daniel Freire, Macarena Gómez, Ángela Molina, Ana Polvorosa
Film Factory Entertainment
With its Pepto Bismal-coloured walls and soft-lightning, Eduardo Casanova's latest presents a toxic relationship between a mother and son. The overtly composed shots and hyperreal colour schemes allude to a world of elaborate bubblegum fantasies in the style of MGM musicals and telenovelas. Still, the pitch-perfect world quickly gives way to the grotesque. Sitting across from each other in a perfectly symmetrical shot, Libertad (the great Ángela Molina, frequent Almodovar collaborator who also played one of the Conchitas in Bunuel's swan song, THAT OBSCURE OBJECT OF DESIRE) questions her son, Mateo (Manel Llunell) about his bowel movements. As the scene devolves, both projectile vomit across the room, an incident that will lead up to a cancer diagnosis and Libertad's already stringent grasp coiling ever tighter around the freedom of her adult son.
Produced by none other than Álex de la Iglesia, LA PIETÀ reaches increasingly ecstatic heights of emotion in a whirlwind melodramatic horror from one of Europe's rising stars of weird cinema. Often billed as the Spanish John Waters, director Eduardo Casanova does not shrink in the face of the repulsive as he blends high camp aesthetics with brutal images of gore, sex, and bodily fluids. A fairy-tale nightmare about power and control, LA PIETÀ embraces excessive design as it explores the power grab of a mother gone mad. Darkly funny and improbably disgusting, LA PIETÀ takes the stereotype of the controlling mother to unreasonable extremes as it blurs the line between Libertad (whose name ironically means freedom) and the North Korean dictatorship. This allusion will eventually bleed over into the fabric of the film's reality, further challenging the line between real and unreal. – Justine Smith
Nico Van den Brink
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