Thursday 25 April 2019

Spanish Film Festival (5) - Barrie Pattison is unenthused by THE UNCOVERING (Nacho Ruipérez)

My luck ran out at the Spanish Film Fesitival with Nacho Ruipérez’ El desentierro/The Uncovering which is protracted, hard to follow and nasty. This is a pity because it belongs to a nice cycle of moody regional Spanish thrillers of which La isla minima/Marshland is the best known. 

Hopes rise with the opening drone shot of police cars racing along the empty road below to the body laid out in front of the deserted crossroads farm house among the rice farming terraces, shot presumably as part of the Mario Fernandez Alonso and Carlos Perez Gasco second unit work which places the place in the forlorn flatlands that give the piece atmosphere.

It’s another one of these coming back from Argentina pieces whereby probing events of the characters’ childhood disturbs dark half-forgotten intrigues.

Back from being packed off with the religious teachers, Michel Noher returns for the funeral of his Valencian politician uncle Jordi Rebellón. He picks up his friendship with his cousin Jan Cornet (The Skin I Live In) and sinister events proliferate. An Albanian woman shows up at the funeral. Nohler’s hospitalised mother has her oxygen supply turned off. The dead man’s home is burgled and the Pilota trainer from the local health center offers the young men his assistance in what he assures them is a dangerous state of affairs. An old Walkman tape has been leaked to the press and the police are interested.

Flashbacks trace the involvement of Noher’s father Leonardo Sbaraglia (Intacto) with a girl from the now derelict cabaret and a visit to a bordello means a menacing confrontation with the whoremongers there. Shots are fired. Old secrets uncovered and bodies exhumed.

It sounds better than it is - something like La Quietud- but instead it’s muddled and uninvolving. Even so it’s nice to see Ana Torrent still looking good in a brief appearance.

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