Posts tagged ‘Chris Barsanti’
By Chris Barsanti
Chris Barsanti has been a Filmcritic reviewer since 2002.
A director shooting a gripping epic about the tyranny of Christopher Columbus gets a lesson in humility in Icíar Bollaín‘s potent satire about First World humanitarian hubris running up against Third World realities. Ironies pop like flares against the deceptively cozy film-about-a-film structure (a modern-age trope given layered resonance by having the whole production being shot by an earnest documentarian). Though the film as a whole is about as subtle as an anti-imperialist polemic by Howard Zinn — it’s actually dedicated to the late, truculent left-wing historian — and not without some serious structural flaws, its burning spirit has an unimpeachable potency.
Playing another variation on one of his holy fools, Gael García Bernal is Sebastien, a Spanish writer/director obsessed with telling the true story of a 16th-century Dominican monk who railed against the bloody terror wrought by the conquistadors on the New World’s natives. While Sebastien appears at first to have a creative purity of spirit, the film’s first scenes make clear how much he’s willing to compromise in order to get his film made. Driving through the Bolivian mountains with his producer, Costa (a solid, enigmatic Luis Tosar), Sebastien complains at first about how little the mountainous setting and Quechua locals (more…)