"Anger": Running on Instinct By Alexandra Seitz

in 7th Cluj Transsilvania International Film Festival

by Alexandra Seitz

Anger (La Rabia) by Albertina Carri is neither a very pleasant nor a very pleasing film. Rather it seems bleak and cruel, drastic in its depictions of the matters of life and death, without regret and without mercy. But not without warning. At the beginning an insert informs: “The animals in this film die as they normally would have died” and when you consider yourself weak you better take this as a caution. The shrill screams of a desperate sow which is about to be slaughtered are no pleasant sounds, nor is it pleasant to watch a caged, panicked badger trying no less desperately to appear really dangerous but failing miserably. Not to forget the one-take-long-shot with the hare which tries to outrun the bunch of dogs and for a while seems to have a chance — but there are four dogs and only one hare and, of course, finally they get him.

Why am I writing about the occurrences with the animals? I write about animals because they are of the same importance as the happenings between the humans in this film. The sounds of the birds in the evening twilight, the billowy fog between the trees in the morning are as important as the fact that Alejandra betrays her husband Poldo with their neighbor Pichon and that their respective children Nati and Ladeado become brutalized and traumatized during the course of events. The story takes place in the Argentinean Pampas, in a remote and rural region, where living conditions are harsh, people work hard and the overall feeling is that of a bitter everyday fight for survival. There is almost no laughter in Albertina Carri’s film and almost no tenderness, but there is a strong sense for the overwhelming power of the most basic emotional energies: violence and sexuality. The sex scenes between Alejandra and Pichon are graphic and full of pain and lust. These people don’t make love; they fuck — reckless without restraint like animals. Which, in the context of this film, does not mean “more primitive than men”, it just means “without much consideration for the consequences”. Maybe this lack of conscience is the reason why Nati stops speaking and starts taking her clothes off in public and makes threatening drawings which become film-interrupting little animations, and which finally give Poldo an idea about the goings-on between his wife and that much hated neighbor of his. Catastrophe is bound to happen. But then, on the other hand, catastrophe is a fact of nature, natural like instincts. It is proof of life, like all the strange feelings and terrible urges and desperate needs which constitute human beings, the monster inside, patched-up by the rules of civilization, always on the guard, always vigilant, always threatening to raise its beautiful and ugly head.