Film Notes: El Club/The Club (2015) directed by Pablo Larraín

CL / 97 minutes / color / Fábula / Dir: Pablo Larraín Pro: Juan de Dios Larraín, Pablo Larraín Scr: Guilermo Calderón, Daniel Villalobos, Pablo Larraín Cine: Sergio Armstrong Film Editor: Sebastián Sepúlveda Mus: Carlos Cabezas Cast: Alfredo Castro (Padre Vidal), Alejandro Goic (Padre Ortega), Jaime Vadell (Padre Silva), Alejandro Sieveking (Padre Ramírez), Antonia Zegers (Madre Mónica), Marcelo Alonso (Padre García), Robesto Farías (Sandokan), José Soza (Padre Lazcano) Release Date (Berlin International Film Festival) 9 February 2015 (Spain) 9 October 2015 Original title: El Club

The Club (Spanish: El Club) is a 2015 Chilean drama film directed, co-produced and co-written by Pablo Larraín. It was screened in the main competition of the 65th Berlin International Film Festival where it won the Jury Grand Prix. It was selected as the Chilean entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 88th Academy Awards. (Source: Wikipedia)

the-clubSynopsis: A group of priests of various ages lives together with Mónica, a nun, in a house on the Chilean coast. When they are not praying and atoning for their sins, they train their greyhound for the next race. What on earth has brought them here, practically to the end of the world, where a stiff breeze constantly blows? When a new priest moves in, a man suddenly turns up at the door and starts making strong accusations about the newcomer. His voice grows louder and louder until a shot rings out. The priest has evaded the accusations by committing suicide. The church sends an investigator, but does he really intend to uncover the truth or is he merely meant to ensure that the appearance of beautiful holiness is maintained?

Little by little the film brings dark secrets to light, explores the past of these servants of God and mercilessly reveals contradictions in the Catholic Church. At least Pablo Larrain’s screenplay achieves what the church itself has failed to do, and metes out just punishment to the black sheep. In doing so, it strictly abides by the rules and rituals of Christian martyrdom. (Source: Internationale Filmfestspile Berlin)

Pablo Larraín: Born in Santiago de Chile in 1976, he is a director and producer. He studied film at the University for the Arts, Sciences and Communication in Santiago before cofounding the Fábula production company in 2005. In the same year he made his feature film debut with Fuga. He followed this with Tony Manero (2007), which premiered in the Directors’ Fortnight at Cannes in 2008, and Post Mortem which premiered at the 2010 Venice Film Festival. His film No (2012) was nominated for a Best Foreign Language Film Oscar. He has been working as a producer and director on the HBO series Prófugos since 2011.

Just a few days ago, Begoña and I went to see The Club, a harsh film, a very harsh film indeed, which dares to address some issues that, unfortunately, are very topical. The day after watching this film, the newspaper headlines were bringing new cases of priests charged of child molesting. However, in my view, The Club is not a perfect film and Larrain has not found the adequate tone for the story, but still I believe is a honest and personal film. He sometimes, even, adds a little humour. But, above all, this is a film that forces us to think and the spectator will have to deal with uncomfortable situations. It certainly is a perturbing film. The work of the actors, in particular, has seemed to me excellent and, in a nutshell, I truly believe it’s well worth to go see The Club.

See the review at The Guardian and The Hollywood Reporter.

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