Film Movement – Year 11 Film 4: “La Sirga” (AKA The Towrope)

la-sirga-0011four-stars4Talk about a nearly perfect rainy day movie. Now here’s a film where although actors are in nearly every frame the true star is clearly the strikingly perfect union of photography and sound. In fact these two elements are so strong that halfway through the film I was overcome with an urge to put on my windbreaker and beanie, and I live in the sunny section of town.

The actual plot, which is a minimal one at best, is about Flora, a young Colombian refugee fleeing from her recently ravaged village who has come to live with her estranged uncle in his dilapidated slowly sinking two-story yet vacant hotel. We see, as well as hear and feel (again, thanks to the exceptional heightened sound and visual elements), what life on this muddy grey landscape seemingly in the middle of nowhere is like. Questions of Flora’s safety are always present, whether it be from potential rape, working conditions, sleeping disorders, or just plain trauma, and give the film that subtle tense quality.

The opening tone-setting image in Director William Vega‘s sullen glimpse of life on a grey riverbed and the Columbian refugee who has come to stay there is clearly a horrifying one. It’s an image of a dead man impaled on a pike. Horrifying for sure, even more so than the similarly iconic cult classic image from Ruggero Deodato‘s Cannibal Holocaust (1980) in where a more graphic depiction of a spiked victim is shown. I say more horrifying because in La Sirga this image is not being used within the context of an exploitive horror-esque film, which makes the dreadful and uneasy tone underlying the drama to come only that much more effective, regardless of how subtly revealing that drama is – and La Sirga is all about the subtle.

Looking for something outside the Hollywood cookie-cutter experience? Something that screams artsy without being full of itself, or just being artsy for art sake? Something that may seem like a waste of time at first, but contains that menacing quality to cling to that ponderous portion of your brain and screams for thoughtful attention as you try to go on with your day? Do yourself a favor and grab a copy of this movie.


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Categories: Reviews

One Comment on “Film Movement – Year 11 Film 4: “La Sirga” (AKA The Towrope)”

  1. Ellen Hayden
    February 16, 2014 at 7:29 pm #

    The girl’s name is Alicia.
    The housekeeper’s name is Flora.

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