The Photographer

After years of making films in Russia, Chilean helmer Sebastian Alarcon goes home for his latest social satire, but his hometown, Valparaiso, that's captured here coexists in several time-frames simultaneously. A pixilated fable about art and selling out, which chronicles the corruption of an idealistic photographer, pic boasts "Pleasantville"-ish conceits and free-form anachronisms which paradoxically appear genteelly outdated.

With:
With: Daniel Munoz, Malucha Pinto, Marcela Espinoza, Claudio Reyes, Rodolfo Bravo.

After years of making films in Russia, Chilean helmer Sebastian Alarcon goes home for his latest social satire, but his hometown, Valparaiso, that’s captured here coexists in several time-frames simultaneously. A pixilated fable about art and selling out, which chronicles the corruption of an idealistic photographer, pic boasts “Pleasantville”-ish conceits and free-form anachronisms which paradoxically appear genteelly outdated. Likeably candy-colored comedy, however, might alight on indie or Spanish-language cable.

Our mustachioed shutterbug hero, who dreams of creating a revolutionary photo-novella, is costumed circa 1948, uses a ’50s camera, strolls by posters for the 1962 World Cup, and works in an office with a secretary typing on an old Underwood and a boss — shown in black-and-white — schmoozing on a cell phone. Chronological tropes also permit hoary old chestnuts — like having a bunch of layabout artists seduce their love-starved landlady into deferring the rent — to be trotted out in a way that defuses sexist implications. Daniel Munoz imbues lead role with William Powell-like charm, while heroine’s integrity is synonymous with her Audrey-Hepburn-on-a-Vespa head scarf. Ultimately, pic seems exiled from its own context.

The Photographer

Chile

Production: An In Vitro production. Produced by Luciano Tarifeno. Directed, edited by Sebastian Alarcon. Screenplay, Alexander Adabashian, Alarcon.

Crew: Camera (color/B&W), Lomer Ajvlediani. Reviewed at Havana Film Festival, New York, March 27, 2003. Spanish dialogue. Running time: 103 MIN.

With: With: Daniel Munoz, Malucha Pinto, Marcela Espinoza, Claudio Reyes, Rodolfo Bravo.

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