Sebastian Cordero's Cronicas A Sympathetic Monster By Ana Cavaco

in 22th Guadalajara Film Festival

by Ana Cavaco

Somewhere in the landscape a man bathes in a river. Everything around him is calm and inspires a peaceful feeling. We don’t know this man or what he is doing there. This is the beginning of Crónicas, a Mexican-Ecuadorian film by Sebastian Cordero and the winner of three prizes at the Guadalajara International Film Festival in the section of Ibero American movies: best film, actor and screenplay.

The themes of murder, pedophilia and the ethics of journalists are treated with duality creating doubts in us, some part of us wants to believe that the man whom they call the monster is not the same as the beloved family man.

To create this feeling the director has not taken the easy way. Cordero doesn’t want the audience to weep or get angry about the guy who may or not be this monster who likes to torture, rape and kill children. Cordero never gives a clear image of these acts. They are implied. Like the music (composed by Antonio Pinto, who wrote the music for City of God ) that develops until its final note, the film leaves the revelation for the end creating suspense.

In this first work by Sebastian Cordero, the images are subtle, the characters complex especially the one played by Damián Alcázar, who won the prize for best actor. He created a monster who had the manners of a humble farmer, his cruelty is only seen in his eyes, but only for a brief moment.

Another character is a journalist with a poor notion of ethics. The greedy Manolo Bonilla (John Leguizamo) is led into a game he will lose by Vinicio Cepeda and his Crónicas of travels.

A man bathes himself in a river somewhere in the equatorial landscape. We don’t know him. When he leaves the water he washes a piece of clothes with lixivia. Later we will see the same piece of clothes in the picture of a missing boy.