Critic: La Maldad (Evilness)

Critic: La Maldad (Evilness)

Dir. Joshua Gil

Official Selection Mexican Feature

La Maldad posterThe Richter Scale says: Rafael Gil Morán lives in a world of evilness. Where is this evil? Is it in the story he’s telling that he thinks will be the greatest movie ever made? Is it in what he has to do to make that happen? Is it inside him? Or is it in a country in which, Little by Little, more people wind up living like him: poor? The film doesn’t answer these questions, because it doesn’t really explain much of anything. It shows Rafael telling his story and receiving some news that lead him to the decision that it’s now or never. He has to achieve what he’s wanted to do for years.

This is Joshua Gil’s big-screen debut (before this he had only directed movies for television) and his protagonist (the actor and the character) are named Rafael Gil Morán. I haven’t been able to confirm whether this man is related to the filmmaker or how closely the actor resembles his character, but you can tell that most of what Rafael does is improvised, The way he babbles on tells us that the director pointed a camera at him, told him what to talk about and then gave him the freedom to say it his way, including the songs he sings which, according to the credits, are written by the actor himself. This naturalism says a lot about the actor/character.

La Maldad 1The film presents many elements that are no longer new in Mexican cinema. The first shot is of a fire as it’s extinguishing up in a valley. It’s a static shot with no dialogue or background music, just the fire extinguishing and people running away from it. That shot lasts over 7 minutes and along with shots of Rafael hanging arund his house or the fields, without doing or saying much, are aspects of Mexican Independent Cinema that are starting to feel like clichés of the genre. Still, it’s a clever story and it makes us reflect on how evil can be found in the things we do, but also in the situations that lead to that violence and to people living the way Rafael lives. He has a story to tell, but many like him also do and they’re told through the social and political situation we live in nowadays (the film’s ending is memorable, since many people will agree with it).

This film will screen at Cinemex Plaza las Luciérnagas today at 2:00 pm and in Guanajuato City in the Auditorium of the University of Guanajuato on Thursday, July 23rd at 4:00 pm.


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