Director: Damián Szifron
Writers: Germán Servidio , Damián Szifron
Cast: Darío Grandinetti, María Marull, Mónicaa Villa
Genre: Thriller | Black Comedy | Drama
Also known as Relatos Salvajes.
Streaming on Amazon Prime.
Wild Tales is as exhilarating as it gets. It contains six short stories that explore the extremities of human behaviour involving people in distress.
Making a thriller with grand plots, heists, schemes, International embassies, Political corruption, and revolutions is easy. But what Wild Tales does is narrate 6 short stories, the succeeding one slightly longer in runtime than the previous one and narrates the stories of a few characters who have been wronged. How they react to the adversities or circumstances makes the movie.
The ensemble anthology is composed of six short segments: “Pasternak”, “Las ratas” (“The Rats”), “El más fuerte” (“The Strongest”), “Bombita” (“Little Bomb”), “La propuesta” (“The Proposal”), and “Hasta que la muerte nos separe” (“Till Death Do Us Part”). In the American localisation, the third and the fifth had their names changed to “Road to Hell” and “The Bill”.
SLIGHT SPOILERS AHEAD.
A few words from the director himself about the movie and its characters.
“We are all conscious that this system is not organised in our benefit. We behave like good citizens, we pay our taxes and we are law-abiding citizens and buy the products that they sell to us but at the same time, we all feel uncomfortable, as the ceiling is low or we didn’t have oxygen. This creates a great pressure that reflects in our love life or family life. We suffer this lack of time, this extreme difficulty to make money and do so many things that we are not interested in. Facing that reality, a lot of people get depressed and some others explode. This is a film about those who explode, those who cross the limit and reveal how really things work.”
Despite the clear common theme of violence and vengeance, what connects the accounts, according to the director, is “the fuzzy boundary that separates civilization from barbarism, the vertigo of losing your temper, and the undeniable pleasure of losing control”. This is explored through the concept that human beings have animalistic features very much like Lijo Jose Pellisserry’s Jallikattu (2019) expresses. Szifron considers the main difference between humans and animals is the capacity one has to restrain oneself, as opposed to animals who are guided by their instincts. Humans “have a fight or flee mechanism, but it comes with a very high cost. Most of us live with the frustration of having to repress oneself, but some people explode. This is a movie about those who explode”. It deals with “daily life” aspects and “is a movie about the desire for freedom, and how this lack of freedom, and the rage and anguish it produces, can cause us to run off the rails. The main issue, according to Szifron, “is the pleasure of reacting, the pleasure of reacting toward injustice.”
The art and commercial aspects juxtapose perfectly in this movie and this foreign flick can be enjoyed by everyone irrespective of their tastes. Just go watch this movie and thank me later.
Verdict: 7/7 Stars.
- Damián Szifrón, the writer and director of the film, wrote most of the tales in his bathtub. He actually said: ” The bath is a great place”. He even lit some candles and poured himself a drink.
- It’s one of the top-grossing Argentinean movies of all time
- Shot in 8 weeks.
- Official submission of Argentina for the ‘Best Foreign Language Film’ category of the 87th Academy Awards in 2015.
- During the credits at the beginning, each main actor of each tale is identified with a wild animal. In the director’s case, it is a fox. Szifrón said that this was because his father had liked foxes a lot, and had used to watch lots of documentaries about them. He also felt identified with that picture, more specifically with the fox’s gaze, as the job of a director is in the gaze.