The Count, by Pablo Larraín: Pinochet before the cruel imposture of his eternity (****)

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Comedy is a good forum for analysis because of what it has to do with suspension of judgement, healthy distance, deferred reflection. And we don’t say it, but Henri Bergson. Laughter suspends emotion. In fact, there is no worse enemy of laughter than emotion. Probably with this idea, fueled by a lot of anger, Pablo Larrain it was raised one fine day to convert to Augusto Pinochet in the protagonist of a farce by black force, very black. You know, nothing is more fun than misfortune, as the poet said. And the result was released on Thursday in Venice under the title of Count alluding to the most famous count who has given the history of counts who is none other than Count Dracula, immortal, bloodthirsty, oblivious to the clarity of mirrors and so deeply ridiculous that he had no choice but to hide his misery in the title of, indeed, count. ‘Count‘, we said.

The film is presented as a fantastic vampiric fable that refers to a time without place or owner. Trapped in an inhospitable place, the eternal hierarch decides to die. Tired of death, both familiar and elusive, Pinochet gathers his followers to share with them the least hidden of his secrets: He was a genocide, yes, but he was also a thief who accumulated a treasure distributed and hidden throughout the world. And there all the children and relatives come to feed the unscrupulous ogre of greed, the authentic legacy of the dictator according to the director himself.

‘Count’ it runs across the screen like a bad dream, like a nightmare without air. Shot in a metallic black and white that refers to the darker works of Béla Tarr as well as the fiery expressionism of Dreyer or the unfiltered irony of Sellers in ‘Red phone, are we flying to Moscow?’, the film lives from the foreground in the contradiction of its most intimate impossibility. How to joke with the repulsive? How to succeed in describing the excess of horror? How to make a 250 year old fly? How to be elegant among the most absolute irreverence?

It is not a perfect film, because it does not aspire to it. The script is entangled between the need to tell the barbarity of what cannot be told and the desire to simply scream. At times, Larraín wants to be pedagogical and make it clear that it is impunity for crime that he leaves without arguments or hope. At times, the director indulges in a kind of desperate lyric to perhaps underline the uselessness of everything. And while, the movie moves uncomfortably free, deeply funny and deeply sad.

There are already many works by the filmmaker determined to explain to everyone and to himself what his country is and was. ‘Tony Manero’, ‘Postmortem’, ‘No’ and now ‘Count’. And he has always tried to approach the wound -because that’s it– from the other side, from that place that admits neither sermons nor epics. And almost always seconded by a alfredo castro cold and enormous (the incorporation of Jaime Vadell in the role of Pinochet adds points and grief, both). All of his films, in his own way, are farces. But they are eyeless parodies so sad that they leave you laughing breathlessly. ‘Count’ It does not count as a masterpiece, which remotely refers to a staged one, but rather as a wild work, without a bridle, happy in its deep and amusing despair.

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