Tuesday, 3 March 2015


Tongue is situated firmly, immovably in cheek for Wild Tales, a delectable collection of short films that relies on no crutch, no arbitrary connecting tissue, no outrageous escalation of violence, no running gag to engage. It relies on good storytelling, on techniques that are simple to utilise and also to identify, but that are rare, and difficult to hone. Damian Szifron's film (or films) is funny and shocking in equal measure, often simultaneously, but never due to any ostensibly grand effort; viewer investment in the premises of his stories is required in order to respond to any of them. Szifron devises clear, solid scenarios, twisting the course of everyday situations just slightly, preying on our everyday fears and worries - much of Wild Tales' pleasure comes from imagining how one would react in place of the characters herein. The style of Szifron's mise-en-scene is deceptively plain, and for good purpose - you never notice how he directs not only his actors but his audience too, aligning our attention and our sympathy for maximum emotional impact; his stylistic indulgences are likewise economical both in character and in frequency, and only ever compliment the core concerns of the stories. Each short tale increases in length as the film progresses, which ensures that our attention spans are primed and prepared for the next story every time; perhaps accordingly, the quality of the tales also increases, by and large, though there's a delightfully resonant kick to the first, manic short in the selection.