You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Dust

"Dust" is a compilation of tenuously connected scenes meant to convey the mental and social damage wrought by Guatemala's armed conflicts.

Cast:
With: Agustin Ortiz Perez, Eduardo Spiegeler, Alejandra Estrada, Maria Telon Soc. (Spanish dialogue)

The kind of pic whose press kit tells far more than what’s onscreen, “Dust” is a compilation of tenuously connected scenes meant to convey the mental and social damage wrought by Guatemala’s armed conflicts, yet Julio Hernandez Cordon’s disconnected scenes and unfocused characters hold zero emotional weight. Guessing the relationships isn’t difficult, but the challenge of generating enthusiasm for what’s essentially an exercise in pseudo-poetic evocation will be nearly insurmountable. Major film fund sponsors (World Cinema Fund, Ibermedia, etc.) guarantee a limited worldwide fest tour.

More opaque than his “Marimbas From Hell,” Cordon’s third feature concerns Juan (Agustin Ortiz Perez), a husband and father whose own barely remembered father was a victim of Guatemala’s bloody internecine repression (auds interested in the subject will find Juan Manuel Sepulveda’s recent docu “Lessons for a War” far more affecting). Juan and his mother, Delfina (Maria Telon Soc), are the subjects of a docu being made by Ignacio (Eduardo Spiegeler) and Alejandra (Alejandra Estrada), a couple whose background and emotional life remain unprocessed.

Juan’s tried suicide several times (his wife is getting fed up), and perhaps he hopes the docu will help him better understand his trauma. According to the press materials, Delfina is still hopeful of finding her missing husband, though this isn’t conveyed in the film itself; rather, she seems to be pushing the memories away. When not threatening self-destruction, Juan abuses his neighbor and fouls the abandoned school bus of his neighbor’s son with dung.

Gradually, auds understand that the neighbor ratted on Juan’s father three decades earlier, leading to his disappearance. A final, disturbing scene is meant to convey the depths of Juan’s psychic damage and the pressures of facing it daily in a nation that’s largely buried the past, though even this violent act can’t sufficiently jolt viewers out of their indifference.

Cordon, not for the first time, seems just as indifferent to his auds. Occasionally recurring, nightmarish scenes of a stripped and bound man in the forest, accompanied by a high-pitched electric squeal, are presumably flashbacks of Juan’s father, yet there’s no power in these impressionistic images. Visuals will likely look best on smaller screens, as digital quality can tip toward the grubby; closeups and an almost casual handheld look aren’t able to capture the desired intensity.

Dust

Guatemala-Spain-Chile-Germany

Production: A Melindrosa Films, Tic Tac Producciones, Fabula, Autentika Films production. (International sales: M-Appeal, Berlin.) Produced by Fernanda del Nido, Julio Hernandez Cordon, Pamela Guinea, Juan de Dios Larrain, Pablo Larrain, Paulo de Carvalho, Gudula Meinzolt. Directed by Julio Hernandez Cordon. Screenplay, Cordon, Mateo Iribarren.

Crew: Camera (color, HD), Maria Secco; editor, Aina Calleja; production designer, Ambush Studio; sound, Carlos Mourino, Mauricio Lopez; line producer, Joaquin Ruano Cofino; assistant director, Meme Solano. Reviewed at Locarno Film Festival (competing), Aug. 9, 2012. Running time: 80 MIN.

Cast: With: Agustin Ortiz Perez, Eduardo Spiegeler, Alejandra Estrada, Maria Telon Soc. (Spanish dialogue)

More Scene

  • AMAs Afterparty at Watt's with Niall

    Niall Horan, Chainsmokers, Rae Sremmurd Bring the AMAs After-Party to Beverly Hills

    The kind of pic whose press kit tells far more than what’s onscreen, “Dust” is a compilation of tenuously connected scenes meant to convey the mental and social damage wrought by Guatemala’s armed conflicts, yet Julio Hernandez Cordon’s disconnected scenes and unfocused characters hold zero emotional weight. Guessing the relationships isn’t difficult, but the challenge […]

  • Tig Notaro Writers Room

    Tig Notaro on Louis C.K. Scandal: Only Positive Is 'Victims Were Not Told They're Lying Anymore'

    The kind of pic whose press kit tells far more than what’s onscreen, “Dust” is a compilation of tenuously connected scenes meant to convey the mental and social damage wrought by Guatemala’s armed conflicts, yet Julio Hernandez Cordon’s disconnected scenes and unfocused characters hold zero emotional weight. Guessing the relationships isn’t difficult, but the challenge […]

  • HBO Presents-Night of Too Many Stars

    Jon Stewart, Other A-List Comics Skip Over Louis C.K. at 'Night of Too Many Stars'

    The kind of pic whose press kit tells far more than what’s onscreen, “Dust” is a compilation of tenuously connected scenes meant to convey the mental and social damage wrought by Guatemala’s armed conflicts, yet Julio Hernandez Cordon’s disconnected scenes and unfocused characters hold zero emotional weight. Guessing the relationships isn’t difficult, but the challenge […]

  • Variety Hitmakers Brunch

    Kendrick Lamar, DJ Khaled, Hailee Steinfeld Honored at Inaugural Variety Hitmakers Event

    The kind of pic whose press kit tells far more than what’s onscreen, “Dust” is a compilation of tenuously connected scenes meant to convey the mental and social damage wrought by Guatemala’s armed conflicts, yet Julio Hernandez Cordon’s disconnected scenes and unfocused characters hold zero emotional weight. Guessing the relationships isn’t difficult, but the challenge […]

  • The 'Runaways' Praise Series' Diversity at

    'Marvel's Runaways' Stars Praise Series' Diversity at Hulu Premiere

    The kind of pic whose press kit tells far more than what’s onscreen, “Dust” is a compilation of tenuously connected scenes meant to convey the mental and social damage wrought by Guatemala’s armed conflicts, yet Julio Hernandez Cordon’s disconnected scenes and unfocused characters hold zero emotional weight. Guessing the relationships isn’t difficult, but the challenge […]

  • 'Molly's Game' film premiere, Arrivals, AFI

    Jessica Chastain Praises Bravery of Sexual Assault Victims at 'Molly's Game' Premiere, AFI Fest Tribute to Aaron Sorkin

    The kind of pic whose press kit tells far more than what’s onscreen, “Dust” is a compilation of tenuously connected scenes meant to convey the mental and social damage wrought by Guatemala’s armed conflicts, yet Julio Hernandez Cordon’s disconnected scenes and unfocused characters hold zero emotional weight. Guessing the relationships isn’t difficult, but the challenge […]

  • 'The Shape of Water' film premiere

    Guillermo del Toro Calls 'The Shape of Water' a New Type of 'Beauty and the Beast'

    The kind of pic whose press kit tells far more than what’s onscreen, “Dust” is a compilation of tenuously connected scenes meant to convey the mental and social damage wrought by Guatemala’s armed conflicts, yet Julio Hernandez Cordon’s disconnected scenes and unfocused characters hold zero emotional weight. Guessing the relationships isn’t difficult, but the challenge […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content