Last Images of the Shipwreck | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Last Images of the Shipwreck 

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Argentinean filmmaker Eliseo Subiela's third feature, which opens the Chicago Latino Film Festival, is in many respects a worthy successor to his second, Man Facing Southeast, and even more difficult to synopsize. A writer saddled with a dull job and an unhappy marriage encounters a woman on the subway. As he gradually becomes acquainted with her and her eccentric family in the suburbs, he pays her for the story of her life, which he wants to use as material for his novel in progress. Following a somewhat novelistic and rambling mode of exposition, Subiela has a good many quirky ideas about mise en scene and magical realism--unexpected camera placements, surrealist interludes, and offbeat conceits (such as the fact that Jesus Christ is a character the heroine visits periodically)--that never quite become a cohesive film style, though they certainly reveal a singular sensibility. Thoughtful, provocative, and highly original, this 127-minute film requires a certain amount of patience, but one is well rewarded for the effort. With Lorenzo Quinteros, Noemi Frenkel, and Hugo Soto (1989). Frenkel and Soto will be present at the screenings. (First Chicago Center Theater, First National Bank of Chicago, 1 S. Dearborn, Friday, September 28, 7:00; also Three Penny, Saturday, September 29, 6:30; 751-3419, 431-1330, or 663-1600, ext. 317)

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