3 Nov 2017

Yesterday I Was Wonder (Gabriel Mariño, 2017)

☼☼☼☼☼☼☼☼(☼) out of 10☼

Filmed in awe-inspiring B&W, with virtually every shot worthy of being framed and hanged in a gallery, Yesterday I Was Wonder (Ayer Maravilla Fui) initially appears as a depressing meditation on old age, only to turn into a melancholia-fueled lesbian love story after an aged man with a bad case of Parkinson's, Emilio (Rubén Cristiany), wakes up as a young and pretty healthy woman, Ana (Sonia Franco).

Both Emilio and Ana gravitate towards a hair salon in which a beautiful, sad-eyed hairdresser, Luisa (Siouzana Melikian), earns her crust. Their loneliness is the main course here and it is served in an intimate and hypnotizing atmosphere of profound silence occasionally pierced by the second movement of Schubert's Piano Sonata in A Minor, D. 959. When Ana turns into Pedro (Hoze Meléndez), the sense of isolation becomes heightened and we realize that the side dish comes along with many questions regarding human essence and emotional involvement.

Who or what 'invades' the bodies of Mexico City denizens, earning the film a place in the pantheon of arthouse sci-fi, remains a puzzle, though he/she/it doesn't seem to be malevolent, considering that its physical inconstancy does not affect his/her/its feelings. This mysterious entity means no harm, but some harm is done nonetheless or maybe, it's the other side (Luisa) who is to blame for not recognizing the soul, looking for the face instead.

Not bothering with explaining the uncontrollable transmigration of his protagonist, Gabriel Mariño creates a sincere, contemplative chamber drama with great tranquilizing powers stemming from its deliberate pace, mostly static takes and the sparseness of dialogue. Supporting his efforts is the considerable chemistry between the actors, simmering beneath the sleepy surface of their characters' insipid existence.
Yesterday I Was Wonder could be described as Momir Milošević's Open Wound meets Sion Sono's The Whispering Star meets Philip Kaufman's The Invasion of the Body Snatchers with horror replaced by elegiac poetry. It is available for FREE viewing on Festival Scope, as a part of the Morelia IFF selection, until the 9th of November.

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