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Después de Lucia by Michel Franco

June 9, 2013

Last year Después Lucia (After Lucia) by Michel Franco won the Un certain regard prize at Cannes, the section of the most celebrated film festival in the world that is dedicated to promote young and innovative filmmakers, during the years the prize – not a symbolic one but a concrete 30000 Euros prize to encourage the distribution of the winning film in France – has been given by the jury to directors who were not that daring (just think of Giordana’s powerful classic melodrama The best of Youth) nor that young (Sang-soo Hong is daring but had already been around and quite well-known for a while when Hahaha got the award) and in the case of the Mexican film I am reviewing here Un certain regard went to a typical example of art house stereotypes: complete absence of camera movements? got them! scabrous themes presented in an unmotivated and unreasonably confusing way? got them too!

The way I see it a filmmaker can (un)move the camera as he prefers and he can treat scabrous and provocative themes as long as the story he tells is a meaningful one. After Lucia is the (misleading) title of the film and I have nothing against misleading directors, but Franco is no Robert Wiene: Lucia is not a character of the film and her absence is not that relevant when you consider that what happens to her widowed husband and orphaned daughter could happen – as it happens in real life – to people who are not facing the grief for having recently lost a loved one, Lucia’s death looks like a cheap stratagem to let the spectators to feel pity for these lost characters. Después Lucia is not a film about dealing with grief (what a solace! too many of them in recent years) nor a film about teen bullying it’s not even about the dangers connected to the use of social networks but just a film who mixes up these hot and scabrous issues creating an inconsequential narrative to the only only effect of trying to shock and surprise the viewer.

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