Cannes 2014: First Look At Wild Tales

Laugh for me, Argentina

Cannes 2014: First Look At Wild Tales

by Willow Green |
Published on

An unusually raucous highlight of this year's Cannes Film Festival, Argentine director Damián Szifron's six-part comedy anthology, Wild Tales (Relatos Salvajes), boasts a slicker sheen and a much higher batting average than most films of its ilk, with each revenge-minded portion ranging from pretty good to pretty great. (Anyone looking to avoid particulars would do well to skip the next paragraph.)

Potentially taking the piss out of self-important “we’re all connected” social dramas, the first segment concerns two airline passengers (Maria Marull and Dario Grandinetti) who realise they have more in common than they think. The next one takes place at a roadside diner, where a waitress (Julieta Zylberberg) finds herself face-to-face with a brute from her past. Number three puts a comedic spin of the **Duel **scenario, as a hotheaded businessman in a sports car (Leonardo Sbaraglia) runs afoul of an equally temperamental driver in a junker (Walter Donado). The fourth segment sees a demolitions expert (Ricardo Darín) getting fed up in Falling Down fashion after his car is repeatedly towed by an indifferent government. The penultimate chapter deals with the nasty particulars of covering up a hit-and-run, and the finale chronicles a hilariously hellish wedding ceremony.

We’re spared any half-hearted framing device, with revenge and a significant dose of class friction serving as the lone throughlines. Ideally structured and often wickedly dark, the film opens with a tidy bang and closes on a sustained note of manic escalation. The rest vary in length and impact, but most move at a fair clip – only number five threatens to stall out with its sheer ugliness – and all are sharply shot by cinematographer Javier Julia. The Almodóvar-produced Wild Tales may have social indignation on its mind at every turn, but more importantly, it rarely fails to earn its many, many laughs.

By William Goss

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