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Review: The Clan

The Clan by Pablo Trapero announces itself from the very first moment. Trapero shows footage of the Argentinan transition from the dictatorship into a democracy, suggesting that a changeover is not a completely smooth process. The opening scene is immediately arresting and gives us an idea of what is to come, (which instead, is revealed through past activity).

Exhibit A is the story that Trapero reveals here, of, well, The Clan (interestingly, the dual meaning of “The Clan” refers to the fact this crime family is, in fact, an actual family, the Puccios. There are many scenes of the brood acting like a completely normal family unit).

Most of the kidnapping and murdering comes from Arquimedes (an incredible Guillermo Francella) and Alejandro (Peter Lanzani in a huge eighties wig), but the question is begged almost from the first scene: how involved is the rest of the clan in assisting Arquimedes and Alejandro with this outfit? The rest of the family seem oblivious, (especially the youngest, Adriana, who is always being shielded), but certainly they had to know what was going on. This sense of unawareness can be compounded by the attitude of Arquimedes, who is loving, even tender towards his wife and other children, which adds to the sense of banality, which makes this saga seem even more ruthless.

We haven’t even gotten to Trapero’s ironic and expansive pieces of soundtrack material (melancholy songs sounding upbeat), brutal visuals, and an ending sequence from which it is impossible from which to recover. The final images will stay with us, as even the postscript to the film is chilling.

The movie is a companion piece to the Argentian Wild Tales. But the vignette style is replaced by a fluid sense of a composed story. It’s almost like a real life version of  the fifth Wild Tale, but based entirely on reality.

The film is arresting, rollicking, composed, and creepy as all hell. Seek out The Clan. 

[star v=45]