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« NYFF: Manchester by the Sea| Main| Doc Corner: Netflix's Big Oscar Push »
Tuesday
Oct 04 2016

NYFF: Everything Else

Manuel reporting from NYFF on an Adriana Barraza star vehicle.

Everything Else
Natalia Almada'sEverything Else(Todo lo demás) is a portrait of a woman in the most literal sense.The movie,which runs 98 minutes,has very little plot and is focused instead on observing (keenly,empathetically,near-obsessively) the life of Doña Flor.A no nonsense government worker by day with very little life outside the desk she occupies daily and the apartment she shares with her cat,Doña Flor (played byBabel's Oscar nominated Adriana Barraza) is not lonely,per se.But she does seem disconnected from the life around her;in Barraza's face you can see the weariness of her life without the contempt stories about childless spinsters usually inspire.Almada gives Barraza no more than 50 lines in the entire film,plunging us for stretches at a time in a silence that rattles for the very comfort it depends on.She's interested in watching Doña Flor and,in doing so,sketches out a woman perhaps like many others and yet entirely herself.

That the quiet peeks at her life are punctuated by news reports (often out of frame and unintelligible) about violence against women and close ups of the women she encounters on the train,across her desk,and at the public pool she visits,make clear that Almada's near dialogue-free project wants to think about the state of Mexican women today without doing anything more than showing (there is so little telling).

The effect is hypnotizing though whether you follow along for the ride depends on your patience for such a small scale story with such a self-consciously deployed structure.And yet,every time Barraza is on screen,you're reminded why she remains such an underutilized actress;she doesn't carry the film as much as she inhabits it,losing herself in the mundane life depicted,another face in the crowd.

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Reader Comments (3)

Betancourt,is that last line supposed to be praise for Barrera or criticism of her acting style?

October 4,2016 | Unregistered CommenterRene

Oops.Barraza*

October 4,2016 | Unregistered CommenterRene

Rene,

Definitely praise.It's in keeping with the film's style that she's required to be natural in a non-affected way,something the actress excels at.

October 5,2016 | Registered CommenterManuel Betancourt

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