‘Holy Beasts’ Review: Cinematic Dreams Within Dreams
The meta-thriller “Holy Beasts” follows a group of artists who come together in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, to complete the unfinished project of their friend, filmmaker Jean-Louis Jorge, who was assassinated in 2000. C ‘is an elegant intellectual homage. in a tribute, a fictitious reflection on what it means to continue the legacy of a true artist who has passed away.
The story follows Vera (Geraldine Chaplin), a former star who took on the role of director. She is flanked by Victor (Jaime Pina), her potentially shady producer, and Henry (Udo Kier), her mysterious choreographer. On her set, Vera acts as the guardian of Jorge’s memory, the interlocutor of his ghostly presence. But Vera’s task becomes more complicated as members of her cast are found dead and her tropical setting pushes the production towards disaster.
For inspiration, the characters watch excerpts from Jorge’s films. Through these clips, the directors, Israel Cárdenas and Laura Amelia Guzmán, show how Jorge mixed kitsch and melodrama to create a vibrant cinematic style. Elements of Jorge’s methods can be seen here – the natural setting, the garish costumes, the beauty of the young dancers – but the lens offers a different perspective. Here, the camera is restrained, watching the drama in long static takes filmed from a distance.
It is thanks to the intelligence of the filmmakers and the imposing performance of Chaplin that the film effectively encourages its audiences to consider the same questions that haunt Vera: Does this image capture the spirit that animated Jorge’s work? A theremin score weaves its way through the soundtrack, a spectral reminder that what sounds like a human voice might just be an electric facsimile.
Unclassified. In Spanish and English, with subtitles. Duration: 1h30. Watch on Film Movement Plus.
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