Viola (2013) – Matías Piñeiro

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Lesbian friends rehearse a Shakespeare play about vanity. A bootlegger of foreign arthouse films attends all the rehearsals. His girlfriend, who delivers DVD’s for the operation, meets the actors by chance. They make her read the play and suggest she act in it.

Actresses rehearse Shakespeare as sexual foreplay

Actresses rehearse Shakespeare as sexual foreplay

Soap opera for young academics? Affluent hipster culture who think they are sophisticated? I’m not quite sure what to make of this.

Todos Mienten was a Rivette-like ensemble acting experiment. El hombre robado was a Rohmer-like story of epiphany for its three characters. But Viola seems short, unfinished, a preview, of something more ambitious.

The actors rehearse Shakespeare, which is always interesting depending on the interpretation the author makes of the work. Unfortunately the story here just takes from the plays without expanding on its themes. Once again, short film.

A scene suggests sexual release through Shakespeare, but no skin is shown. (Did I watch a PG version?)

The bootlegger’s distribution company is called Metropolis after Fritz Lang. Why? It’s not clear.

Dirty peeper, enjoys lesbian erotica

Dirty peeper, enjoys watching lesbians rehearse Shakespeare

Piñeiro works as a researcher at Harvard. His acclaim so far comes from his woman-centric narratives which take from the talky new wave French films (Rhomer, Rivette) in style, but substitute the romantic existential philosophy for Argentinian political history, and generational concerns (his characters are usually young artists types w romantic dilemmas).

Viola is moral crux of the film, she rejects sexual promiscuity for philosophy.

Viola is the moral crux of the film, she rejects sexual promiscuity for philosophy.

But Maria Villar as Viola, is an interesting character. In contrast to the actors in the play, her sexual creativity is severely repressed.  At home, she works dutifully at bootlegging, and is more concerned with the aspect of running the business than any kind of creative passion with her boyfriend.

Her boyfriend eventually leaves her for one of the more sexually charged actresses. Viola ends up alone, ruminating on a definition of “love”.

They have a music band together and the last thing we see is one of their rehearsals. The music is naive indie pop, not quite professional, but full of confessional jubilation.

“When I saw you sing, I thought I loved you,” she writes to him, after their breakup.

Metropolis Films distributes bootleg DVD's of art films across Buenos Aires

Metropolis Films distributes bootleg DVD’s of art films across Buenos Aires

Is it the story of a love mismatch? Could the boyfriend be a surrogate for the director? It’s hard to tell since this is a short. The boyfriend does not exude any particular overmasculine traits, we don’t really know why he is obsessed with the rehearsals. It can’t just be sexual attraction.

And Viola as the balanced center: wronged by straight love, but confident and optimistic in her instinctual outlook on life.

Too incomplete of a project to be powerful, but will keep looking forward to the next thing.

Read my analysis of his splendid second feature: Todos Mienten.

Read my review of his debut feature: El hombre robado.

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Categories: female leads, Notes

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