The Aerial

The Aerial is a very strange film from Argentina. It’s in black and white, and it’s kind of a silent film, in that most of the dialog appears on the screen in interestingly stylized Spanish words, and also on the bottom of the screen in English subtitles.

But the reason that we are hearing almost all of the characters “speak” in text is that in the world of the film, they cannot speak out loud. The world is run by some all-powerful company, run by Mr. TV. He controls the one person with a voice, a woman named The Voice who does not have a visible face. He also has a key enforcer, who seems to be a cross between a human and a giant rat, complete with tail. And the only food available is some sort of cookie-shaped “TV food” that comes in what look like cereal boxes. And these are only a few of the surprising details of the world in the film.

As I watched it, I really had no idea what I thought of it, and only a few ideas of what the director was trying to say. Clearly corporate power was one of the targets, but I’m sure there were others. The black and white visuals reminded me a bit of The American Astronaut, an obscure little film I saw at the Toronto film festival. Someone I know compared this film to Brazil, and in retrospect I can see that. She loved it, but she sees way more movies than most humans, so anything this different will likely be attractive to her.

Weighing it all, I’ll give it 3 stars out of 4 stars.

Seen 3/3/2008 at Cinequest.

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