El Mudo {The Mute}

El Mudo

Why Watch It: For its non-judgmental story about the world of judges, cops, criminals, and families in Peru. For the direction of Diego Vega Vidal and Daniel Vega Vidal. For the acting of Fernando Bacilio.

Warning: Plot Spoilers ahead.

Review: Constatino Zeggara {Fernando Bacilio}, a Peruvian judge, who is seen to be tough on crime, gets shot in his neck and loses his voice. Because of his inability to speak, he faces challenges in his work, and has to deal with changes in his household led by his wife Otilia{Norka Ramirez} and his daughter.

So Constantino must learn to speak, to cope with his new job responsibilities, and to navigate the dynamics with his family members. The police suspect that he may have been accidentally shot. But he declines to believe this. He keeps pushing the police to investigate criminals he has been tough on, even resorting to bribery. How Constantino copes up with the changes at the workplace and house, investigates the shooting, and tries to recover his voice is artfully shown in this subtitled film.

Rating: 4 Out of 5 Stars. Almost gets very interesting but misses the spot because of the slow pace.


Reclaim Your Brain/ TV Lies (Free Rainer)

This subtitled movie explores the issue of the onslaught of mindless programs on TV.

Rainer Kaethner is a jerk — guzzling alcohol (even while driving) and snorting narcotics(even at work).  He manages  a TV station under Channel TTS, which hosts reality TV shows, including one in which the sperm of young men compete to mate with the egg of a young woman!

He meets an anguished young woman who confirms his identity as the person doing ‘Report 24’ and is set to stab him. But she hesitates, perhaps  because he is not alone.  Soon after this incident, Rainer accepts an award for ‘Report 24’ and is returning home after dosing on drugs when the mysterious woman smashes her van into his car.  While being resuscitated he has a near-death experience, you know, an epiphany of sorts and imagines that his vital life is in hands of non-real doctors, whose actions are being voted on by a live audience.

While recovering, he visits the young woman and tells her that she couldn’t possibly hate him more than he hates himself. This appears to soften her hatred of him and she visits his room. But finding him asleep, she surreptitiously leaves the hospital . When he later visits her room, there is another patient in her place. But he finds a newspaper clipping about her elderly relative, a swimming coach, who committed suicide after a Report 24’s damaging coverage.

Rainer tries to turn over a new leaf and present genuine reportage, but is blocked by the Channel TTS, which uses the rating system to decide which TV shows get slotted. Rainer is of the opinion that the rating system is flawed. He feels that the small number of viewers who give the rating are given a choice of a large amount of trash which feeds an addiction, and this perpetuates the problem of crappy TV shows. He likens the TV channel’s strategy to feeding sweets to children all day long.

In order to give intellectual TV shows an opportunity to compete, Rainer decides to study and manipulate the rating system with the help of the mysterious woman, Pegah, who had tried to kill him. The rest of the movie is based on the attempts of Rainer, Pegah, and a team of idealists/ revolutionaries / hackers / saboteurs to create a TV revolution.

The ending is quite idealistic and shows Rainer, Pegah and the team as having been successful. The TV viewing population has become deaddicted to rubbish on TV, and generally to TV itself.