Finisterrae

Often incomprehensible and generally indescribable, Sergio Caballero's feature debut, "Finisterrae," certainly has a sense of humor, but how much is meant to be taken seriously?

Cast:
With: Pau Nubiola, Pavel Lukiyanov, Santi Serra, Yuri Mykhaylychenko. (Russian, Catalan dialogue)

Often incomprehensible and generally indescribable, Sergio Caballero’s feature debut, “Finisterrae,” certainly has a sense of humor, but how much is meant to be taken seriously? Two Russian-speaking (dubbed) ghosts, in basic Halloween attire of white sheets with blacked-out eye holes, journey to Santiago de Compostela in the hopes of rejoining the living. Lensing by Eduard Grau (“A Single Man”) looks incongruously splendid when paired with this bewildering procession of oddities. Rotterdam’s Tiger prize was surely awarded out of sheer perversity, yet there’s something undeniably compelling about so much bizarreness. Cult status is likely.

Tired of being ghosts, two spirits determine to “consult the oracle of Garrel” (Philippe presumably, not Louis) somewhere beyond Santiago. With one occasionally on horseback or in a wheelchair, and the other carrying a wind sock, they progress through an attractive landscape and encounter a lieder-singing hippie, a forest full of plastic ears whispering in Catalan and, most amusingly, a flashback to bad 1980s Catalan video art. Is “Finisterrae” merely poking fun at rarefied art cinema, or is it a quirky homage? Both interpretations are possible, so best not to question and just enjoy the visuals.

Finisterrae

Spain

Production: A Sonar Festival, Advanced Music, Eddie Saeta production, in collaboration with Xacobeo 2010. (International sales: Film Sharks, Buenos Aires.) Produced by Saeta. Executive producers, Ventura Barba, Lluis Minarro. Directed, written by Sergio Caballero.

Crew: Camera (color, HD), Eduard Grau; editor, Marti Roca; music, Jimi Tenor, Caballero; costume designer, Jorge Perez; production designer, Caballero. Reviewed at Rotterdam Film Festival (competing), Jan. 31, 2011. Running time: 80 MIN.

With: With: Pau Nubiola, Pavel Lukiyanov, Santi Serra, Yuri Mykhaylychenko. (Russian, Catalan dialogue)

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