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PVC-1 (DVD Review)

9 Aug, 2009 By: Angelique Flores

Prebook 8/10/09; Street 9/15/09
$24.98 DVD
Not rated.
In Spanish with English subtitles.

Don’t look for an uplifting movie here. But be prepared to be moved by the storyline and amazed by the cinematography.

A group of bandits breaks into the quiet home of Ofelia and Simon, demanding money the poor couple doesn’t have. The would-be robbers tie up the three children and attach a collar bomb around Ofelia’s neck. They leave a recorded message on a tape instructing them of the deadline they have to get the money before the bomb goes off.

Despite threats if they go to the police, Ofelia and Simon meet with authorities to have them remove the bomb.

Set in Columbia, this gut-wrenchingly tragic film is inspired by a true event. It seems many of these actors have a short, if any, resumé, giving a raw intensity to the film. I wouldn’t be surprised if some of the script was even ad-libbed.

But the most striking part of this amazing 84-minute feature is that it was filmed in one continuous shot. Watching the action happen in real-time, with a sometimes unsteady camera, made it feel more real than any documentary or reality program I’ve ever watched. The lack of any musical score and the intrusive close-ups were uncomfortable, but they put you right there with the characters. I felt more like an in-person witness to this horrifying event than an outside audience member.

This is an impressive debut for Spiros Stathoulopoulos who is the director, writer, producer and was the cinematographer of PVC-1, which garnered accolades at several film festivals, including Cannes.

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