(VENEZUELAN) A Foncine production. Produced by Malena Rocayolo. Directed by Thaelman Urgelles. Screenplay, Urgelles, Edilio Pena. Camera (color), Vitelbo Vasquez; editor, Mario Handler; music, Vinicio Ludovic. Reviewed at Cartagena Film Festival, Columbia, March 9, 1994. Running time: 91 MIN.
With: Gustavo Rodriguez, Mimi Lazo, Marcela Walerstein, Julio Sosa, Victor Cuica, Ana Maria Paredes.
Following an obvious storyline, “The Devil’s Plates” offers a shopworn tale of a frustrated writer whose lust for fame drives him to kill and plagiarize the work of a promising author.
Pic is marred by a rather wooden performance by Gustavo Rodriguez, who plays Ricardo Azolar, a man who writes and writes but is unhappy with his literary output.
At a salon where pretty people drape themselves around a garden and discuss literature and the role of the writer, Ricardo meets and falls for a writer groupie who is in love with a promising new scribe named Daniel (played by Julio Sosa, former head of the Venezuelan film institute, Foncine).
Ricardo befriends Daniel, only to kill him, steal his manuscript and basically usurp Daniel’s life. Ricardo dyes his hair, discards his glasses, starts smoking cigars and takes up with Daniel’s g.f. His eventual fate is obvious. Pic begins with a voiceover, which informs that the film is the autobiographical story of Ricardo’s deeds, written in retrospect in prison and destined to be his true masterpiece.
Main problem is that the pivotal role of Ricardo is so disagreeable that one quickly loses interest in him and his situation.
Tech credits are fine but film offers few surprises.