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Tardes De Sol, Noches De Agua (2019) Short Film Review

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Tardes De Sol, Noches De Agua (2019) Short Film Review

“What did Mommy teach you, Lamia?” her mother asks, the second time.
“Men are the most vile creatures.” Lamia replies, coldly.
“By nature.” her mother asserts.
“By nature.”

Gender-based violence involves both men and women in which the female is usually the victim, derived from the unequal power relations between the two genders. Recent studies confirm that sexual and gender-based violence is a widespread problem with serious repercussions in terms of personal suffering, health complications, disability, and death for women, children and men, in addition to having significant costs for healthcare systems and society at large.

Based on a true story that was in turn inspired by the titular song by Fito Paez, Cay Productora, a new team of local artists and creators, emerged with a Bachelor’s Degree in Audiovisual Production and Realization at the Inter-American Open University (UAI), have made a 20 minute short film- Tardes De Sol, Noches De Agua, titled in English as The Afternoons of Sun, The Nights of Water, a brilliant interrogation of faith and religion, abuse and exorcism, oppression and gender violence all transitioned in a single unit.

Related To Tardes De Sol, Noches De Agua: Olla (2019) Short Film Review

Shot in pristine black and white, and bolstered by a fearless performance by Lara Todeschini as Lamia, this Argentinian short recounts the story of a young woman, painfully shy and introverted, who lives with her mother Hera, a deeply superstitious woman. Lamia’s exposure to the world is limited to sending the tailored garments to their neighbours. She is seen as a child, not as a woman capable of leading her own life, making her own decisions. The only feeling that guides her, almost eclipses her own understanding of everything else, is her faith.

Even before we first see her, the door bthat leads to her room is adorned with a drawing of the Holy Mary. Even during the only opportunity she is allowed to venture out of the house, her actions are adminstered. It is on these walks that the girl begins to grow an inclination for local man Rabbit, who is always accompanied by his gang. It is from there where the unmitigated horrors begin to unravel, as Rabbit takes advantage of Lamia’s condition and the childish love she has for him, and seduces her for double intentions.

Although based on a real story and narrated with gritty attention to details, director Vicente Menzella brings in a brilliant display of magical realism, situating the viewer in a distinct place and time. Notice how the costumes are designed, seemingly traditional and modern at once, and how the film begins with the shot of a river flowing- symbolic of perennial lineage of time. The absence of color is essential in understanding this element of darkness that permeates time, space and action.

Also Read: Songs From Far Away Land (2020) Short Film Review

The opening shots focus distinctly on aspects of nature and faith- the river, the plants, the church, the bell; and then shifts to tell a very specific story of a woman. This transition emphasizes the timelessness of such stories, that gender violence is as much an issue of the present as it was in the history.This co-existence of elements from different eras, some older, like clothing, and others a little more recent, such as motorcycles, all integrate how the issue covered exceeds the temporal framework, because what is reported, the abuse, happened and continues to happen; it is the imposed machismo that still persists in our society against the role of women.

Tardes De Sol, Noches De Agua is a brave and evocative work, that does not succumb to the clichés of the realist drama and skillfully uses the medium of the short film to bring out uncomfortable, essential truths at the very centre.

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