Friday, March 17, 2006

TOP 30, #30: Nueve Reinas, by Fabien Beliensky

The first film in my top 30 (the 30th, really), is for me the perfect example of the power of cinema. It's what has been largely forgotten in this era of special effects and fancy directing: the power of a story. Thank God for smaller countries, and smaller budgets.

Thanks mainly to Fabien Beliensky and Argentine, who made, in 2000, "Nueve Reinas", known in the US as "Nine Queens".

Oh, I know what you'll say. It's precisely because I'm sure most of you have never heard of it that I'm delighted to have it as No 30. And it proves another point I want to make here. Marketing is what makes a movie successful or not at the box-office. Of course, Nueve Reinas had an equivalent to zero marketing push, and did poorly. To that I'll add that in today's world, big-box office is equivalent to quality, and so, this film never made it to anybody's top in 2000. Too bad for them.

Nueve Reinas is the story of two Buenos Aires con men who decide to work in tandem for a day and one big con: the sale of stamps called the Nine Queens, for a few million dollars. Except of course what the two men have is only a fake. The great thing about the movie, and its very twisted plot, is that you know there's a bigger picture, but as hard as you try, you can't see it coming.

The movie succeeds on several levels, which I think must all be present in a great film: it tells you a nice story, and it tells it intelligently, it teaches you, it brings you awareness on an issue you might not have known (here, the economic situation in Argentina), and it plays, one way or another, with the viewer itself. I can't reveal how, but I can tell you it doesn't happen before end credits (Nueve Reinas is, in fact, a great proof that end credits are entirely part of a movie).

A remake was made last year, but I won't even mention it. The simple fact that Hollywood feels necessary to remake foreign movies to reach the american public is disgusting to me.

To conclude, here's a piece of advice: there'll always be at least a few days between two posts, in this blog, of movies from my Top 30 list. Plenty for you to rent the DVD. So, in the next few days, go and watch your first argentinean film.

And remember, Cinema is not about big images, it's about big pictures.

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