Matar A Un Hombre (To Kill a Man) won the Grand Jury Prize World Cinema – Dramatic in 2014. This film was also the official entry for Chile in the 87th Academy Awards. With a poignant title and even more poignant cinematography, this is a daring film. Not only is it a dream for foreign film lovers, but a visual feast for any fan of the continuous take. Not only does this film contain an 8 minute continuous take, that sure is haunting, but it’s heavy ending culminates with a query filled 3 minute continuous take. Marar A Un Hombre deserves the spotlight, yet again!
The story to this film is very simple. We follow Jorge (Daniel Candia) as he attempts to protect his family from local bully, Kalule (Daniel Antivilo). There is very little dialogue in this film, and for the most part plays like a silent film, with impeccable framing and amazing use of night light. Alejandro Fernandez Almendras is the Chilean director that might have what it takes to get Chile it’s first ever Best Foreign Film Oscar win. The title of this film tells it all, we know what to expect, but what does it really mean to kill a man? It explores masculinity, morality and guilt.
Daniel Candia delivers a performance so subtle, that you forget he is on the screen. Mostly we see him from a far, and whenever he is up close to the camera, slight movements of his face tell us the depth of emotion inside him. We go on a journey with him about the justification of crime, and the extent a man will go to protect his family. As an audience we are engaged into debating within us, what is right and what is wrong. What side do we take? Additionally we get a glimpse into the sometimes helpless situations law enforcement agencies are put under, making us scoff at what justice really means in a legal sense versus a moral sense.
The cinematography is the winner for this film. About 80 percent of the film is shot at night, with no additional lighting, so it tends to look very orange, which is always a great mood-setter. The director wanted to show the entire process of killing. As slow as the movie can feel, it does have it’s moments of shock and intensity. Clever use of sound and non-shaky handheld camera perspectives, the lure set in motion for the ‘act’, itself, is the perfect set up for the simple, yet glamorous, close to, 8 minute continuos take, in which the ‘act’ takes place. The shock value doesn’t come in the form of gore or even blunt violence, it is cold and mesmerising, and begs the question, evil or necessary evil?
A thought provoking Chilean film, with an ending I did not see coming. Artistic auteurism at it’s best, Alejandro Fernandez Almendras delivers. FilmMunch is proud to shine the spotlight on Matar A Un Hombre!
TRIVIA COOKIE: This film is a dramatisation of actual events.