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VENICE 2021 Giornate degli Autori

Review: Out of Sync

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- VENICE 2021: The sheer talent and sensitivity of extraordinary actress Marta Nieto enable her to carry this complex psychological and aural labyrinth of a plot helmed by Juanjo Giménez

Review: Out of Sync
Marta Nieto in Out of Sync

Five years ago, a Spanish short film made off with the Palme d’Or at Cannes: it was called Timecode, and the man behind it was Juanjo Giménez, a Barcelona-born filmmaker who went unnoticed on the Spanish cinema listings with his first fiction feature, Tilt (2003), in addition to directing two documentaries (Esquivar y pegar and Contact Proof). The short, which toyed with – and even choreographed – the editing of images captured by CCTV cameras in an underground car park, was even nominated for an Oscar in its respective category. That’s why there were extremely high hopes for the new work by the director, Out of Sync [+see also:
trailer
interview: Juanjo Giménez
film profile
]
, which has world-premiered in the Giornate degli Autori section of the 78th Venice Film Festival, just days before it is due to rock up at the Toronto (in the Contemporary World Cinema strand) and Sitges (official competition) Film Festivals.

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The Catalonia-based fantastic film festival could perhaps, at first glance, seem the most logical berth for this feature, which unfurls in the hazy territory combining reality and thoughts, subjectivity and something akin to dementia. However, first and foremost, this is a personal, private drama: one that’s endured by a sound technician who begins to notice how her world is going out of sync. In other words, sounds are no longer in perfect harmony with the actions that cause them, but rather, they reach her brain with a few seconds’ delay.

This nightmare (written by the director together with Pere Altimira) befalls a woman with an angular face, played by Marta Nieto, the same actress who, exactly two years ago, went home with the Best Actress Award from the Orizzonti section of this same Italian gathering when she also breathed life into a woman tortured by anguish and unease, and even verging on madness, in Rodrigo Sorogoyen’s Madre [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Rodrigo Sorogoyen
film profile
]
.

With her apparent fragility, it’s therefore Nieto who shoulders the burden of the sheer psychological depth of this proposition, which is just as unusual as Timecode was. It’s a movie that ties in with titles that place sound at the forefront, such as Francis Ford Coppola’s The Conversation, Brian de Palma’s Blow Out or the more recent Sound of Metal by Darius Marder, as well as the documentary Oírse by Navarre-born helmer David Arratibel. Here, the viewer really feels the disconcerting, private ordeal that the main character is going through in a film that – by manipulating the sound editing – constantly reflects certain situations in which it’s easy to recognise ourselves. Because who hasn’t felt out of place or out of sync at some point in their lives? Doesn’t it sometimes happen that the jigsaw pieces of the world don’t seem to fit together around us, perhaps? Or that we are unable to find our place, our definition or our very identity?

Out of Sync – which boasts notable performances from other cast members such as Miki Esparbé and Francisco Reyes – was produced by Galician outfit Frida Films and Lithuania’s Ciobreliai. France’s Le Pacte is in charge of its international sales.

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(Translated from Spanish)

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