Saturday, September 23, 2023

Los reyes del mundo / The Kings of the World

Laura Mora: Los reyes del mundo / The Kings of the World (CO/LU/MX/NO/FR 2022).

Festival Hit / Coming-of-Age / Journey / Family Ties / Adventure
Theme: ¡Revoluciones Latinas!
Country: Colombia, Luxembourg, Mexico, Norway, France
Director: Laura Mora Ortega
Screenplay: Laura Mora Ortega, María Camila Arias
Starring: Carlos Andrés Castañeda, Brahian Acevedo, Davison Florez, Cristian Campaña, Cristian David
Production: Cristina Gallego, Mirlanda Torres Zapata / Ciudad Lunar, La Selva Cine
Duration: 111 min
Rating: K16
Kino-Palatsi 1, Love & Anarchy: Helsinki International Film Festival (HIFF), 23 Sep 2023

Mikko Pihkoluoma (HIFF 2023): " Jengirikollisuuden kuvaukset elokuvissa sijoittuvat yleensä luonnollisesti suurkaupunkeihin, koska ilmiö on myös tosielämässä kaupunkikeskeinen. Yhtenä poikkeuksena voi mainita Hou Hsiao-hsienin Goodbye South, Goodbyen (1996), jonka pitkät kamera-ajot autotiellä tulevat mieleen The Kings of the Worldin aikana. "

" Laura Mora Ortega kuvaa pikkurikollisten matkaa Kolumbian maaseudulla. Viidestä pojasta yhdelle on vihdoin luvattu oikeuden päätöksellä maapläntti, joka kuului pojan isoäidille. Viipyilevän seikkailun aikana paljastuu, että ehkä poikia odottaa perillä myös lupaus kullasta. "

" Pojilla on vain toisensa, sillä he ovat joko orpoja tai eivät enää pidä yhteyttä perheisiinsä. Heidän etsiessään paikkaansa maailmasta vaikuttaa kartellien toiminta perustuvan perheettömien poikien tilanteen hyväksikäyttöön. Päihteet tarjoavat lohtua maailman raadollisuuteen. "

" Ohjaajan käsikirjoitusparina toiminut María Camila Arias tunnetaan parhaiten käsikirjoittamistaan Cannes-hiteistä Birds of Passage (R&A 2018) ja Clara Sola (R&A 2022), joista löytyy samanlaista runollisuutta kuin The Kings of the Worldista. Seikkailu ei ole myöskään kauhean kaukana klassikosta Sierra Madren aarre (1948). " Mikko Pihkoluoma

Quoted by HIFF 2023: Manuel Betancourt: " Laura Mora’s The Kings of the World has no shortage of beautiful shots. The Colombia-set road trip follows a group of four teenagers as they set out to start a life anew away from the violence and poverty they’ve long grown up with. As the film moves away from the bustling streets of Medellín and into the foggy Andean landscapes, Mora captures a vision of this country in transition that is as stunning as it is eye-opening. Every frame begs to be dissected for the way it conjures the promise of futures and freedoms while also stressing the perils and dangers of such possibilities. " Manuel Betancourt, Variety

Quoted by HIFF 2023: Carlos Aguilar: " Before The Kings of the World, the latest feature from Colombian writer-director Laura Mora, inserts us in the bustling streets of Medellín, where teenagers wield machetes to protect themselves, a shot of a fairy-tale-appropriate white horse introduces the dreamlike atmosphere of this ferocious fable about five adolescent street boys denied basic humanity. "

" Homeless and with no blood family to guard them, the young souls at the forefront of this electrifying social drama fend for themselves in a gritty urban environment. Their only comfort comes from the brotherly affection they display for one another. " Carlos Aguilar, IndieWire

Language: Spanish
Subtitles: English
Distribution: Film Factory
Print source: Film Factory
Cinematography: David Gallego
Editing: Sebastián Hernández, Gustavo Vasco
Music: Leo Heiblum, Alexis Ruiz
Sound: Carlos E. García
Production design: Marcela Gómez
Costume design: Ana María Acosta

AA: Directed by Laura Mora and written by María Camila Arias, a tale of five teenage desperados in Colombia, fighting their way against all odds to the Andes from the city of Medellín. The film is brutal, powerful and original. 

It has links to great lineages in the cinema, mostly the tradition of juvenile delinquents lost in the whirlwind of social chaos (Putyovka v zhizn, Wild Boys of the Road, Valahol Europabán, Sciusciá, Los olvidados, Salaam Bombay!, Cidade de Deus). The recurrent image of the white horse seems like an hommage to Sciuscià. 

As an action film, it has affinities with La Salaire de la peur and The Sorcerer, as the boys ride as stowaways on huge trucks on perilous mountain highways. But Los reyes del mundo is different from the others because of the extreme vulnerability and hazard the boys are experiencing. Unique action sequences cover two of the boys riding their city bicycles while tied to a truck. The action thrills continue on jungle treks and wild river journeys. The boys are hijacked by Catholic abusers, find refuge in a jungle bordello and even with a benign hermit living on the mountaintop who masquerades as a fool to be left in peace. ("The Fool on the Hill", indeed).

The destination of the quest is to find a piece of land in a goldmining area that the military government had expropriated from a boy's grandmother, now dead. The land restitution letter is authenticated, but it is still being contested and the boy who has nothing should hire a lawyer. 

The boys, their number now reduced to three, find the promised land. The grandmother's home is but a fragment of a ruin in the wilderness. When the boys are about to settle down, they discover a huge mining project beyond the hill. The country dominated by mining cartels, their paramilitary forces and militias, the violence has no end. 

From the ordeal of the boys, who have nothing but themselves and an escape valve in drugs, Laura Mora's film transcends into a vision of the society's desperate condition. 

David Gallego's cinematography conveys an awesame vision of the world of the Andes. A magnificent score by Leonardo Heiblum and Alexis Ruiz expresses the inner world of the desperados, their hopes, fears and bravado.

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