by Alfonso Rivera
- Pedro Hernández of Aquí y Allí Films produces Jorge M Fonatana’s directorial debut, a film combining mystery, thriller, comedy and dream
Pedro Hernández has always used his company, Aquí y Allí Films, to back alternative talent and daring ventures; for example, he helped Carlos Vermut to produce the intriguing Magical Girl [+see also:
interview: Carlos Vermut
film profile], he supported acclaimed playwright Miguel del Arco in his directorial debut, The Furies [+see also:
film profile],and he won himself a well-deserved Independent Spirit Award last year for his work on Life and Nothing More [+see also:
interview: Antonio Méndez Esparza
film profile], the second film by Antonio Méndez Esparza. Having previously participated in the European Film Promotion’s Producer on the Move initiative, back in 2016, during the Cannes Film Festival (read our interview), the Madrid-born director has invested a great deal of time and energy into Sangre razonable, which was the initial title of the film now known as Boi [+see also:
film profile], the first work by Catalan director Jorge M Fontana which hit Spanish cinemas last Friday, 29 March.
With a screenplay written by Fontana himself, and guest featuring the great José Sacristán, Boi is also the name of the film’s protagonist, a young man nearing his thirties who’s going through a particularly confusing time in his life. This aspiring writer, whose (pregnant) girlfriend isn’t taking his calls, begins work as a driver. His first job is to collect two arrogant Asian business men from Barcelona’s airport and to drive them to the city to close a shady business deal.
This is the beginning of a few intense days for Boi. He finds himself immersed in a strange world, packed full of worrying elements, which leads us to wonder, at a certain point, whether what he is experiencing is actually real or whether it’s just some kind of hideous nightmare, with characters who appear over and over again, the distinctively oppressive aura of the nightclub, the presence of moderate (and, at times, explosive) violence and the surreal dialogues which run through the film. Meanwhile, the Barcelona which Boi travels through in his gleaming car is a rather unsettling version of the city, and this eerie atmosphere is further amplified by the soundtrack – think Eighties electronica – composed by El Guincho (who worked with the singer, Rosalía, on her acclaimed album, El mal querer) for this film, which was shot in 35 mm and in which the viewer can detect great admiration for masters such as David Lynch, Michael Mann and Martin Scorsese.
Though the plot revolving around the Chinese characters is somewhat confused, the lead actor (Bernat Quintana) is slightly lacking on charisma, and the conflict between taxi drivers and the app-based ride-hailing services, which has been all over the Spanish media these past few months, barely gets a mention, Boi – with its French, English, Mandarin and Castilian dialogue – does keep the viewer in suspense. It offers us phantasmagorical moments of narration, as well as heralding the return, albeit in a small role, of David Sust, whom we last saw exacting revenge on the Nazi who tortured him as a child in the cult 1988 film, In a Glass Cage, by Agustí Villaronga.
(Translated from Spanish)
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