Some great indie filmmakers coming out of Chile
March 27, 2018
I caught a screening of Shining Moon a couple of days after seeing A Fantastic Woman, this year's best foreign film at the Oscars. Shining Moon is directed by the very talented Chilean filmmaker Gustavo Letelier,. Like A Fantastic Woman, this film is also filmed in Santiago and explores the LBGTQ community from a different angle. While A Fantastic Woman is what I'd call widescreen entertainment, a drama that encompasses a range of characters, settings, a transitioning transsexual and how Chilean society treats her after the death of her man, Shining Moon is a more intimate portait involving two gay actors whose different views of themselves in society affect their relationship. Ricardo Herrera plays the elder of the two, a character having a hard time making a crucial decision about accepting a plum film role portraying a drag queen because he feels it's beneath his talents as a serious Shakespearean actor. The story, which plays with the conceit of filming a play within a film, draws attention in that metafictional way to its creation, as though its highly stylized theatrical presentation has emerged out of these drag queens' repressive pasts under both Allende and then Pinochet's murderous regime, which was very hard on leftists and the lbgtq community as an extension. There is a lyricism and tempo to this film, which is charming, supported by an original soundtrack created by the multi-talented Letelier, the occasional lapse into poetry as interior thought, subtly well-chosen camera and lighting choices including an opening montage with the main protagonist and a mirror that is reminiscent of the finale in All About Eve, a light hand with humor, a pet chicken, and memorable performances by an outstanding cast of obviously gifted thespians who kept me engaged throughout. I highly recommend you check out this film.