Review: ‘Three Nights on a Saturday’

Given the current popularity of storylines with multiple interwoven plots, it was probably inevitable that this once-popular '70s play would be adapted to the screen. Three men from three different social classes, whose paths cross only tangentially, wind up in adjacent hospital beds.

Given the current popularity of storylines with multiple interwoven plots, it was probably inevitable that this once-popular ’70s play would be adapted to the screen. Three men from three different social classes, whose paths cross only tangentially, wind up in adjacent hospital beds. Shot on digital video for Chilean TV, “Three Nights” has a dense, overcrowded feel, piling up one-dimensional characters in overcharged situations and never quite transcending its initial stage setups. But pic’s old-fashioned meller grounding, tarted up in high-concept flash, might win it a slot on Latin cable.

Script establishes a predictable, class-coded degree of likability: the lower on the totem pole the characters, the sweeter their interaction and more uncalled-for their calamities. Thus a sailor on a 24-hour leave with his girlfriend and the baby he’s never seen becomes the innocent victim of crazed soccer fans. Ruthless if covert company politics lurk behind the drunken orgy celebrated by four middle-management office mates, wherein one attempts suicide. And, at the top of the heap, a rich couple’s dinner party turns into a vitriolic public unmasking of sexual infidelity, ending with the wife “accidentally” running over her faithless husband.

Three Nights on a Saturday

Chile

Production

A Cinembargo Communicaciones/Television Nacional de Chile/Valcine S.A. production. Executive producer, Jorge Benitez. Directed by Joaquin Eyzaguirre. Screenplay, Jaime Miranda, loosely based on a play by Grupo Ictus.

Crew

Camera (color, DV-to-35mm), Inti Briones; editor, Sophie Franca; music, Andreas Bodenhofer; art director, Hugo Tripodi. Reviewed at Montreal World Film Festival (New Trends), Sept. 1, 2002. Running time: 79 MIN.

With

Pablo Macaya, Macarena Basterrica, Ramoon Llao, Blanca Turrientes, Felipe Armas, Paola Volpato, Sergio Hernandez, Amparo Noguera, Maricarmen Arrigorriaga, Taira Court, Pedro Vicuna, Alejandro Trejo, Paulina Garcia, Tichi Lobos, Aldo Parodi, Victor Rojas. (Spanish dialogue)
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