There’s a good chance, come February, that Pablo Larraín will be collecting his first Academy Award. The Chilean director has previously been nominated in the Best Foreign Language Film category for No. Next time out he’s likely to have two films in the mix, both biographies. Neruda is Chile’s selection for the gong, whilst his biography of Jackie Kennedy Onassis seems destined to be recognised in some of the main categories. His first film, Fuga, is released on DVD today. It’s a bold debut and a glimpse of things to come.
When an Argentine music student Rivardo Coppa (Gastón Pauls) discovers the partially completed final work of famous composer Eliseo Montalbán (Benjamín Vicuña), he’s desperate to finish the piece and claim it as his own. However, he has little talent. Montalbán witnessed the rape and murder of his sister as a young boy. A second death at the first performance of his symphony pushes him over the edge and he’s sectioned. Coppa is determined to discover what became of the maestro and to somehow finish the lost masterpiece.
Fuga is a brave and difficult debut from Larrain. He tells Montalbán’s story through a linear narrative interspersed with flashbacks from his childhood. Coppa’s ‘present day’ struggle is interwoven with it. This can sometimes become slightly confusing and feel more than a little convoluted. The premise that there’s something intrinsically nefarious about the work is also a little odd. However, as a study of genius and madness it plays out well. Fuga is a bold but flawed opening from a director who only seems to improve with age.
Fuga is released on DVD by Network today.