Damian Szifron’s collection of black-comedic vignettes drew cheers from the crowd at Cannes. This can be a dubious honour, as the audience is fickle and as much as walking out of a film in an indignant huff is a “thing”, cheering wildly for mediocre movies is equally, if confusingly, prevalent. In this particular case, however, the crowd’s enthusiasm was well deserved. Not only was it a solid film in its own right, but for a late-ish séance it was great fun to watch on the big screen. There is something very special about watching two thousand people, dressed to the nines and giggling like they are at a sleepover.
Relatos Salvajes‘ recalls the short-film compendium format from the 80s and early 90s: Really Weird Tales, Tales from the Crypt, Cat’s Eye, Creepshow. The stories are unrelated except for their shared eccentricity – a road-rage induced showdown leaves two strangers locked forever in a lovers’ embrace, a city planner whose life is undone one piece at a time by parking infractions, a friendly chat between passengers on an airline reveals a twisted revenge plot involving everyone on the plane, a wedding from hell between two people bent on proving they deserve each other – and a dark brand of comedy that revels in the macabre and seals its central characters’ fates in vomit, blood and rat poison. Higher production value than a grindhouse film, and a little more high-brow, Relatos Salvajes is the best date movie of the festival so far. If it’s playing late on a Friday, take your girl or your guy to the drive-in.