×

Crab Trap

Moody, poetic and a cinch to draw moody, poetic people to the arthouse.

With:
With: Rodrigo Velez, Arnobio Salazar Rivas, Jaime Andres Castano, Yisela Alvarez, Karent Hinestroza. (Spanish dialogue)

Moody, poetic and a cinch to draw moody, poetic people to the arthouse, “Crab Trap” is an impressive debut for tyro helmer Oscar Ruiz Navia, whose demi-mythic tale involves new and old worlds colliding on the coast of Colombia. Navia shows enormous control of his medium, and even greater restraint regarding narrative detail. But spareness of vision and story give the pic an ethereal air and an aura of mystery that will only add to its arty cachet.

Into a village called La Barra wanders a second white man, Daniel (Rodrigo Velez). The first, Paisa (Jaime Andres Castano), has been harassing the black inhabitants of the village with loudspeakers pumping dance music all day, in an effort to drive out the native inhabitants so he can build a resort.

The longtime residents have roots that predate legal niceties, but Paisa has papers. The tension between the legal landowner and those who have generations of occupancy on their side is interrupted by the unsmiling Daniel, who just wants to get a boat so he can get away from La Barra, and whatever it is that’s eating him up.

There are clues to the cause of his angst — allusions to a woman, glimpses of a photograph, a reference to a pair of actors who’ve passed through the village days earlier. Daniel, detached and aloof, responds in small doses to the voluble Lucia (Yisela Alvarez), half child, half con artist; and to Jazmin (Karent Hinestroza), the beauty being pursued by Paisa. Cerebro (Arnobio Salazar Rivas) is the local leader and alleged wise man, but like almost everything in Navia’s film, his purpose and power are called into question.

It sounds cliched, but the landscape really is as much a character in Navia’s film as Daniel, Paisa or Cerebro. It is a land that smiles as little as Daniel, the hostile Pacific rolling nearly into a mute jungle; the strip of beach where the people live is as much at risk from nature as it is from man. This unfamiliar part of Colombia is also beautiful, and unexploited — but, one fears, not for long.

Landscape and dreamscape, like the clashing worldviews of the characters, meet in “Crab Trap,” whose effect is an existential disequilibrium. If Samuel Beckett ever went to the beach, this is what he might have thought about.

Production values are tops.

Crab Trap

Colombia-France

Production: A Contravia Films, Diana Bustamente (Colombia)/Arizona Films (France) production, in association with EFE-X Cine, M Films, Laboratorios Black Velvet. (International sales: M-Appeal, Berlin). Produced by Bustamente, Guillaume de Seille, Oscar Ruiz Navia, Gerylee Polanco. Directed, written by Oscar Ruiz Navia.

Crew: Camera (color), Sofia Oggioni Hatty, Andres Pineda; editor, Felipe Guerrero; art director, Marcela Gomez Montoya; sound (Dolby Digital), Miguel Vargas, Frederic Thery, Isabel Torres; associate producers, Wilson Gomez; Andres Pineda, Gladys C. Navia, Gustavo Ruiz, Remy Roy. Reviewed at Toronto Film Festival (Discovery), Sept. 19, 2009. Running time: 95 MIN.

With: With: Rodrigo Velez, Arnobio Salazar Rivas, Jaime Andres Castano, Yisela Alvarez, Karent Hinestroza. (Spanish dialogue)

More Film

  • Svensk Filmindustri SF Studios logo

    Warner Bros, SF Studios Expand Distribution Deal Across Scandinavia

    Warner Bros. Pictures has expanded its distribution deal with SF Studios to include Sweden and have their movies released by the Nordic major through all of Scandinavia. Warner Bros. Pictures already has a distribution pact with SF Studios in Denmark, Norway and Finland. Under the partnership, SF Studios has been handling the sales, marketing and [...]

  • Nicole Kidman Meryl Streep

    Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidman to Star in Ryan Murphy's 'The Prom' at Netflix

    Ryan Murphy enlisted a star-studded cast for his upcoming Netflix movie “The Prom,” an adaptation of the Tony-nominated Broadway musical. Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidman, Awkwafina, James Corden, Ariana Grande, Keegan-Michael Key and Andrew Rannells are among the A-listers bringing “The Prom” to screens. “The Prom” follows a lesbian student in the fictional conservative town of [...]

  • Viktor Dvorak, Anna Geislerova Join Vaclav

    Viktor Dvorak, Anna Geislerova Join Václav Havel Biopic

    Viktor Dvorak has been cast in “Havel,” a biopic of Václav Havel, as the Czech playwright, dissident and national leader. Anna Geislerova, who starred in Oscar nominated “Zelary,” plays his wife, Olga Havlova. Jiri Bartoska, the president of Karlovy Vary Film Festival, will appear in the film as “Professor,” inspired by Czech philosopher Jan Patocka. [...]

  • Daniel Craig

    'Bond 25' First Footage Sees Daniel Craig Back as 007

    After suffering a series of setbacks, including finding a new director and Daniel Craig’s on-set injury, “Bond 25” production is officially underway. A new behind-the-scenes clip of the upcoming James Bond film features Craig and helmer Cary Joji Fukunaga at work in the Caribbean. The minute-long footage didn’t reveal much about the still-untitled movie, though [...]

  • (L to R) Marco Graf as

    ‘Roma,’ ‘The Good Girls’ Top Mexico’s Ariel Academy Awards

    The Mexican Academy of Arts and Cinematographic Sciences hosted the 61st edition of their Ariel Awards on Monday evening, where Alfonso Cuarón’s “Roma” and Alejandra Márquez Abella’s “The Good Girls” stood out among the winners. Perhaps the most surprising thing about Cuarón’s “Roma” scooping best picture is that it’s only the second of his films to [...]

  • The Eight Hundred (The 800)

    Already Pulled From Shanghai Festival, 'The Eight Hundred' Cancels Its China Release

    Already pulled from its prestigious spot as the opener of the Shanghai International Film Festival, war epic “The Eight Hundred” has been dealt a further below with the cancellation of its scheduled release in China next week. In a terse announcement on its official Weibo account, the film said late Tuesday that, “after consultation between [...]

  • Méndez Esparza, Fernando Franco, Villaronga Projects

    Projects By Mendez Esparza, Fernando Franco and Villaronga at Small Is Biutiful

    Antonio Méndez Esparza’s “Que nadie duerma,” Fernando Franco’s “La consagración de la primavera” and Agustí Villaronga’s “3.000 obstáculos” figure among the seven projects to be pitched at Paris’ Small Is Biutiful forum. The closing event for the alternative Spanish film festival Dífferent 12!, Small Is Biutiful takes place June 26, bringing together French distributors and [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content