Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Review - Into the Abyss: The Savage Cinema of Dennison Rama (Various years - Dir. Dennison Rama)

This was a retrospective of shorts from Brazilian filmmaker Dennison Ramalho. My ratings will be based on comparisons with other short films.


This short comes across as more of a music video, with admittedly great music. I'm never that keen on vampires, never have been, and this one contains vampires, so maybe I'm not the best person to comment on this. It had an unsettling atmosphere especially when a nun enters the fray. Not really my cup of tea, luckily better things are to come...

Love From Mother Only

This one was based on a song, quite a pleasant song about motherly love, and Dennison has slightly twisted it by throwing some Brazilian black magic into the mix. He's a total hero. Two lovers are about to split up unless he leaves his sick mother and runs away with his partner. The stakes gets raised when it becomes, "Kill your mother and bring me her heart." Adding sex, violence and devil worship to well-loved songs is inspired and this short starts to show some real potential.


Now to my favourite. Think Elite Squad but with even more excessive violence and you're about there. A Brazilian cop accidentally (yeah right) kills a young boy and it gets covered up by his superior. Things all take a turn for the worst as he has to prove his worth by taking part in executing and brutalising a couple of criminals. It was funny to hear how the director gets his funding from the government... and then makes a film that is very critical of the police force. Great stuff.

Ninjas contains one of the harshest uses of nails that I've ever seen (I'll never be able to look at high heels in the same way again) and some twisted religious imagery, but I'd love to see the director go even further with violence. This is really well-made and acted, and makes me think that a feature by Dennison would be fantastic. 

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