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Angel, a soil fumigator with a personality dis­order, drives in his white van to a Martian-red landscape to rid the local vineyards of a persistent plague of woodlice. His unsettling habit of conversing with himself out loud mirrors deeper confusions about love, metaphysics and the nature of death. We watch, awestruck, as Angel talks a shepherd, struck by lightning, through his last moments on earth.

Lightning strikes thrice. Angel is smitten by Angela, the demure wife of boorish pigfarmer Patricio, then by Mari, a sassy teenager who can relate to men only through sex. Only by choos­ing between them can Angel resolve his inner turmoil. Patricio, however, has other ideas.

Director Julio Medem is a meticulous framer of scenes, and a master at building tension. Playful camerawork - right down to slow-motion bullets and exploding trees - somehow melds into a dis­ciplined. coherent whole, the more remarkable considering the vast philosophical questions that Earth poses.

Film Focus journal claims that Medem's films have, "Enough lovingly-crafted shots to satisfy even the most jaded audiovisual appetite...they are like beautifully coloured question marks".


Heisei Tanuki Gassen Pom Poko
MIFF 1997