Balnearios

Balnearios

Mariano Llinas' sensibility finally clicked with me when I watched this, his first feature but the last of his I watched. This anticipates EXTRAORDINARY STORIES and LA FLOR in its complicated, multipart structure (complete with sub-chapters); playful approach to storytelling (which renders almost everything mythical); and dizzying combination of voiceover narration and heady montage. Llinas' cinema is extremely literary: the eloquent narration describes so many events that we never actually see, meaning a good deal of the film takes place in your imagination. This approach to filmmaking suggests a direct link to Raul Ruiz (and an indirect link to Orson Welles).

There's a wonderful passage in BALNEARIOS where Llinas considers the sort of gift shop you find everywhere in resort towns. Seen through the filter of the writer-director's imagination, the store becomes a little universe of strange fauna and flora. This is Llinas' filmmaking in a nutshell: find something mundane or schlocky (in this case, Argentine beachside tourism), examine its nuts and bolts, then impose some pseudo-scientific order on them. That process of making order is what we do when we tell stories, and Llinas is doubtless a self-reflexive storyteller.