Wild Tales (Argentina 2014) – Damián Szifron

Wild Tales

Recently we discussed an Argentine movie called The Secret in their Eyes which won best foreign film at the 2010 Academy awards. Today we jump forward to look at an other Argentine movie which was shortlisted / nominated for the Academy Awards in 2014. Wild Tales (Relatos Salvajes) is a an Argentine / Spanish black comedy anthology film composed of six standalone shorts, all written and directed by Damián Szifron, united by a common theme of violence and vengeance.

Each unconnected story which runs between 20 and 30 minutes duration is captivating from start to finish. If you hold a short attention span in movies and want things to just happen ‘already’, then Wild Tales should hit all the right buttons. It’s a smorgasbord of events where due to unforeseen circumstances people find themselves at their wits end or in their most desperate hour. What sets Wild Tales apart is the originality of each story concept and none of them are the least bit predictable in how they will turn out. Despite their darkness you cannot help but be entertained by the comical undertone of each extraordinary circumstance. Below is a short plot description of three of the stories taken from the IMDB Storyline:

 (2) “The Rats”: A waitress recognizes her client – it’s the loan shark who caused a tragedy in her family. The cook suggests mixing rat poison with his food, but the waitress refuses. The stubborn cook, however, decides to proceed with her plan. (3) “The Strongest”: Two drivers on a lone highway have an argument with tragic consequences. (4) “Little Bomb”: A demolition engineer has his car towed by a truck for parking in a wrong place and he has an argument with the employee of the towing company. This event destroys his private and professional life, and he plots revenge against the corrupt towing company and the city hall.

I wouldn’t say this is a philosophical film, but it is clever entertainment, that makes you think if these wild tales are actually that wild. Even though these stories are taken to the extreme, everything feels somehow possible when you look back. I would class Wild Tales as a modern cinema classic. The acting and writing in this gem from Argentina are superb, and the beautifully photographed segments keep you thrilled and unable to guess just what crazy turn they will take next. A wonderful joy of a film for film lovers with a rather twisted sense of humor.

“The more I live, the more I learn. The more I learn, the more I realize, the less I know.”- Michel Legrand

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Posted in Movies and TV
4 comments on “Wild Tales (Argentina 2014) – Damián Szifron
  1. selizabryangmailcom says:

    Oh my god, this sounds great. Those are just my kinds of stories! I’m definitely gonna go after this one.
    Holy cow, I’m so behind in the blogosphere. I’ve got a lot of reading to do but really need to pick and choose ’cause I’ll never get anything else done, let alone any writing!!!

    I remember seeing a movie like this in French, a bunch of vignettes, and it was really great. I think I liked every single one of the stories. Can’t remember the title. But I remember in one story a man is about to tell his wife he wants a divorce. She has news too so he lets her go first and she tells him she went to the doctor and has been diagnosed with cancer. So he DOESN’T tell her his decision, dumps his mistress, and starts caring for his wife as she gets progressively sicker, falling in love with her all over again as he does so. It was very touching, although I’m not sure I could see that actually ever really happening. I like to think it would/does, but……I don’t know. 🙂

    • Hey Stacey!. I’m certain you would get a real kick out of ‘Wild Tales’ and I’d be surprised if your husband didn’t like them as well, if he can put up with subtitles. They are all excellent, but the vignette about a road rage incident on a desolate road is one of the most genuinely terrifying things I’ve seen, but it’s also obscenely humorous. I haven’t seen anything quite like it before in film or tv.

      The French story you recounted sounds lovely. I can assure you you there is nothing in Wild Tales quite ‘touching’, although the final vignette where the bride at her own wedding reception comes to realise over the course of the evening that the groom has been having an affair with a a fellow guest ironically ends on an optimistic note. Haha

  2. selizabryangmailcom says:

    Eeeek! The road rage thing is already piquing my interest, ’cause I battle every day on my way to work against road rage. Which is very sad, considering it only takes me about 25 minutes to get to work. The people who have to get on the freeway and drive over an hour each way–THEY deserve the rage, not me! Anyway, I’m just imagining the story and how much I’ll probably relate to it.

    • I’ve heard the traffic in Cali (LA) can be hellish. I doubt it’s worse than Bogota, although thankfully the public transport system here is really good because they have dedicated lane-ways.

      My old man drove 2 hours to an from work everyday for over 10 years. 25 minutes – You’re laughing! I don’t know how he did it and not lose his mind.

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