I had the opportunity to attend San Diego’s Horrible Imaginings Film Festival on Saturday, September 12, 2015, where I was able to see Director Fernando Gónzález Gómez’s film “Viande Rouge.” Horror House Party extends sincere thanks to Horrible Imaginings’ director, Beloved Party Guest Miguel Rodriguez, for access to the Festival and its programming. Read our complete review policy.
Spoiler Alert: This review contains spoilers. Read at your own risk. A “spoiler-free” look at “Viande Rouge” can be found in the news section.
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The Spanish horror-comedy “Viande Rouge” (which translates to “Red Meat” in English) starts out familiarly enough (well, for a horror film, anyway). We see a man wearing a chef’s apron (played by Niko Verona) making small talk with another man (Javier Garcia) bound and gagged and tied onto a meat hook. “I will not remove your gag,” he says when the man tries to talk. “You would try appealing to my humanity. But I don’t have any. I’m a psychopath.”
Surprisingly, the man is able to get down, and he escapes, shirtless, and armed with a large knife, pursued by the chef. His only escape route takes him into a formal dining room full of people seated for dinner. He stops in front of the patriarch at the head of the table, and tells them what had been going on. For some reason, he does not get the response he expects from the family’s patriarch (played by Raul Sanz), who, instead chastises the chef. A broader view of the room shows him (and us) why: the dinner party he has unintentionally crashed is one serving as its primary specialty that other red meat – people!
The three stars of this film (all men; women have no part in the running of this privileged class) are all spot-on excellent, and fit perfectly into this small slice-of-life horror fable. The set is appropriately gilded, with the yellow colors and obviously expensive appointments providing emphasis to the family’s station. The images of the dinner party are seared into my mind, especially the tableau of the (extremely undercooked) young woman with an apple in her mouth, being wheeled on a cart to be carved tableside. It is this ability to produce these unforgettable images that sets “Viande Rouge” apart from less stellar entries in its category.
The running time is under four minutes (about 3:30), but writer-director Fernando Gónzález Gómez is able to tell a complex, layered story within that very short time frame. The economic subtext about the obviously privileged family entitled to eat their social inferiors is . . . well, delicious!.
Until you have an opportunity to see “Viande Rouge,” you can read more about it or follow it on Facebook. The entire film is available (with English subtitles) at the Notodo Film Fest website. If you want to know more about San Diego’s Horrible Imaginings Film Festival, you can check out the Horrible Imaginings website or follow Horrible Imaginings on Facebook.
“A History of Spanish Film: Cinema and Society 1910-2010″ by Sally Faulkner explores Spanish film from the beginnings of the industry to the present day by combining some of the most exciting work taking place in film studies with some of the most urgent questions that have preoccupied twentieth-century Spain. It addresses questions in film studies in the context of a country defined by social mobility, including the 1920s industrial boom, the 1940s post-Civil War depression, and the mass movement into the middle classes from the 1960s onwards. “A History of Spanish Film” offers textual analysis of 42 films from 1910-2010, which provide an especially useful avenue into the study of this cinema. The book analyses Spanish silent cinema and films of the Franco era as well as contemporary examples, considers film’s relations with other literature, pictorial art, and television, and considers the transnationality of Spanish cinema throughout its century of existence. –- McC
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