Perspective is everything in Laura Casabé’s film Los Que Vuelven (The Returned).
Julia (María Soldi) is the wife of a landowner Mariano (Alberto Ajaka), in 1919 Argentina. She hasn’t been able to have a live birth. When her third child dies, she begs her indigenous housekeeper Kerana (Lali González), to take her to a mountain revered by the local Guarani people, a place of great mystery and power, where her stillborn child can be revived. There is an entity there, Iguazú, who has the power to do this, but she must never be summoned, and if she is, there will be consequences. As Mariano takes stock of the land and the indigenous people who he treats as disposable property, Julia deals with the creeping, unseen debt she must pay for her wish.
Los Que Vuelven is Split up into three parts. The first deals with Julia, the second her nightmare and the third shows us Kerana’s story. Each part or episode gives the audience a piece of the puzzle, and they all come together brilliantly for a horrific and satisfying ending. You’ll find the supernatural elements blend with the natural and the feminine; in fact, this film is a supernatural feminist possession story. It’s also a historical film set when progress also meant the annihilation of a people and their traditions and a fable of class and caste where the rich exploit the resources of the natives but are unwilling to face the consequences when they cross the line. Casabé showcases indigenous people’s plight with a compelling supernatural story that is simple with a sophisticated execution. The natural backdrop is also ominous and takes on a persona itself, channelling the spirit of Iguazú in every leaf and blade of grass.
You won’t be disappointed with Los Que Vuelven, playing in Germany only today, February 4.
(I’m delighted to be able to cover a few films for the Final Girls Berlin Film Festival this year, made accessible online due to the pandemic. Check out the full program here for free events and tickets to shorts programs. Please note the availability of viewings: “INTERNATIONAL audiences can purchase tickets for the ISOLATION HORROR, CYBER HORROR, YOUNG BLOOD, COMEDY HORROR short blocks. CANADIAN audiences can purchase tickets for ISOLATION HORROR, CYBER HORROR, YOUNG BLOOD short blocks. All features are geo-locked to Germany, and all short blocks are viewable as well to German audiences.”).