“Marilyn” and “Enigma”, Director Debuts at the Havana Film Festival

By Yusimi Rodriguez

Screenshot from the film Marilyn showing at the Havana Film Festival.

HAVANA TIMES – I’ve just finished watching Marilyn, an Argentinian-Chilean co-production with which Martin Rodriguez Redondo makes his debut as a director and is competing in the Directorial Debut category of the 40th edition of the Havana Film Festival, which continues through Dec. 16.

Leaving the theater, somebody said that the movie was full of stereotypes: the homosexual young man who can’t milk a cow, while the heterosexual alpha-male can; the gay boy who can’t shoot a gun, or stand up to the people who abuse him.

Yes, it’s a story full of stereotypes and we could reproach its director for it if it weren’t a movie that is based on a real-life story. Martin Rodriguez could have maybe told the story in a documentary, but he chose to walk down what might be a more difficult path: showing us Marcos, a gay teenager who likes to dress up as a woman, in a rural town, and his way of dealing with what comes his way, as a fictional movie.

It is very hard to watch, with rough scenes which is what makes it work. It doesn’t appeal to viewers’ sentiments; the director isn’t trying to make you tear up, or “identify” with the characters. He just shows us what happened, how it happened.

However, this doesn’t at all mean that this movie falls flat, the exact opposite in fact. Martin Rodriguez is making his debut with a movie that keeps you on the edge of the seat, which invites you to follow his future work as a director.

Enigma, a Chilean movie directed by Ignacio Juricic Merillan, is another directorial debut that is competing in the Festival. This movie takes the opportunity to take the murder of a young woman, disguised as an accidental death, onto a TV show, as its starting point, which focuses on the effect this murder has had on her family, the blame and selfishness, rather than the murder itself.

In spite of an ending that many viewers will find perplexing, Enigma is a disturbing movie, which could be considered a good directorial debut.