Gods (2008)

JOSUE MENDEZ

Bil’s rating (out of 5):   BB.5

Original title:  Dioses

Peru/Argentina/France/Germany, 2008.  Chullachaki Producciones, Lagarto Cine, TS Productions.  Screenplay by Josue Mendez, , additional dialogue by .  Cinematography by . Produced by , .  Music by .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by .  

The class disparities of modern-day Peru are examined in this mildly satisfying drama. A middle-aged, wealthy businessman spends his summer weekends at his luxury beach-front condo with his new girlfriend, a social-climing Lima resident with a poor background, and his ungratefully bratty son and daughter. The son has an incestuous desire for his sister, while she spends her nights imbibing substances and having random sex. Meanwhile, dad’s girlfriend does her best to keep up with her new friends, the wealthy Stepford-esque wives of the neighbourhood who spend wasteful amounts of time partying, lunching, gardening and just about anything else that’s useless that you can imagine rich people do. While Josue Mendez’s feature doesn’t necessarily show anything dishonest or unbelievable, and the film does present issues well worth the criticism, his view of the wealthy is simplistic and has a pompous, lecturing air to it. Y Tu Mama Tambien accomplished the task of describing the modern-day result of colonialism and its class divisions in Latin America with a hell of a lot more intelligence and subtlety, and L’Avventura presented the ennui of the aristocratic world without indulging in age-old cliches (incest as a symbol of the corruption of wealth is as old as the hills). Remove the pretense and all you really have is a nicely shot, decently acted film with unappealing characters that is all message and no drama.

Toronto International Film Festival:  2008

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