Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Thesis


Tesis; Thriller, Spain, 1996; D: Alejandro Amenábar, S: Ana Torrent, Fele Martínez, Eduardo Noriega, Xabier Elorriaga

The young Ángela studies communication studies and chooses to write about violence in the media for her work. Her professor lends some violent film from the library, but dies from shock after seeing it. Angela and her friend Chema, a horror film fan, decide to watch the film: in it, the real murder of student Vanessa is depicted. Angela goes to search for the film's author and the main suspect is student Bosco. But he wasn't the only perpetrator: his associate was professor Castro who almost kills Angela, but Chema manages to liquidate him. In self-defence, Angela also kills Bosco.

The feature length debut film by director Alejandro Amenabar drew considerable attention for it's analysis of perversion and violence in media and society. But, unlike many similar achievements that end up cheap and trashy, "Thesis" distanced itself from the (excessive) media exploataition of violence thanks to subtlety: for instance, at first Angela darkens the image on her television set when she plays the controversial film of real murder, so that she only hears screaming. And when she finally does see it, the camera shows only small pieces of it to the viewers. These and other tight decisions give the story style while at the same time place metafilm contemplations about violence of film within a film that is "shaped" differently to be presented to the viewers in another context, the one that asks why there is a demand for observing violence in the first place. As a whole, "Thesis" has a too overstretched rhythm while the crime elements have substantial lacks in logic, yet actress Ana Torrente is very good as the curious heroine and on a certain level the story is a poignant psychological thriller.

Grade:++

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