Stars: Willem Dafoe, Irene Azuela, Cassandra Ciangherotti, Andrés Almeida
The directorial debut from Daniel Graham is a frustratingly elusive meditation on music and absence. Dafoe is Paul, a composer who has travelled to a small Mexican village where his father died. During his visit, in which he becomes fixated on the disappearance of a Hungarian woman, he converses with a local farmer about slaughtering techniques, and drops by the local church where he talks earnestly to the priest about the role of silence in music. The picture picks up a little from the sombre tone of the first half when we encounter a slightly oafish filmmaker Daniel (the likeable Almeida) as he and a colleague stumble around the same village striving to locate some authenticity, before they are humbled by a singular event. Writer-director Graham, who worked with Mexican auteur Carlos Reygadas, shares that director’s philosophical preoccupations and reflective approach, but the storytelling feels a little too oblique and occasionally veers into pretentiousness.