Wild Tales

"Relatos Salvajes" is an audacious collection of short stories from Argentina (English captions) which garnered a ten-minute standing ovation at Cannes and was nominated for Best Foreign Film at the Oscars. Written and directed by Damián Szifron (lots of Argentinian television), this starts with some memorable wildlife photography, shot with elegance and described by a playful voiceover. This sets the tone.

Rather than concentrate on the wonderful actors, I will instead give you hints about the unpredictable (and humorous) short stories; some are shorter (and darker) than others, but none leave you wondering about what happened. This is a refreshing change from many of the short stories we have seen or read. What a treat!
  • Let's start with “Pasternak,” or what I call "Free Ticket." We meet an assortment of passengers on a commercial airline who are strangers to one another. A sense of discovery is personal to start with and as our suspicions grow, we laugh at the contrived stories. That's all I'll say...
  • In "The Rats" ("Las Ratas") we are in a late-night diner where a waitress greets a rude, demanding guest. As WE discover why she becomes so upset, so does the cook...
  • Road to Hell,” or "El más fuerte" is one I call "Road Rage." A businessman in an upscale car tries to pass a derelict clunker. The driver keeps swerving into his path and frustrating him, so when he finally passes him, he calls him an uncomplimentary name. Everything is fine until he gets a flat tire.
  • Bombita” is one I call "Tow-Away Zone." We meet a successful demolitions engineer who is reminded by his wife to pick up a birthday cake on his way home. While in the bakery, his car is towed and our story begins. For anyone who has dealt with an implacable bureaucracy, this one is for you!
  • La Propuesta” or “The Deal," I call "Hit and Run." An irresponsible teenage driver hits and kills a pedestrian. Here we watch his wealthy family as it maneuvers to keep him out of jail, even as his conscience begins to bother him.
  • The final segment (I couldn't find a name for it), I call "The Wedding Party." This goofy, hilarious story takes place at a wedding reception. It's obvious that the bride and groom are delirious with joy and the elaborate party is very, very upscale. Just wait until she dials a workman whom her fiancé had called a week or so earlier.
You won't recognize most of the faces...maybe Ricardo Darín ("The Secret in Their Eyes")... as a result it's easier to suspend disbelief, even though this is a brilliant and convincing collection of actors. This film examines the human animal and how it reacts to stressful situations. Please watch this trailer!!!!
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You'll recognize some of the stories:
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