Recipe For Disaster: An Ounce of Error Plus a Ton of Reaction
Film: Wild Tales
Director: Damián Szifron
“If you prick us do we not bleed? If you tickle us do we not laugh? If you poison us do we not die? And if you wrong us shall we not revenge?”
Are moral lapses forgivable? Of course they are, in a universe wherein love remains an active operating principle. But sometimes this same operating principle demands that a price be paid for simply doing as we please, and sometimes that price seems way out of bounds.
A driver, for example, who freely expresses his road rage may find himself hanging from his seatbelt while his BMW leans over a muddy river.
A self-absorbed runway model might find herself on a plane manned by a vengeful ex-boyfriend who never got over the heartless way she dumped him.
An apathetic, overly punitive Department of Highways might find itself on the wrong side of an explosives expert.
A spoiled rich boy might watch his beautiful, expensive wedding go up in flames when his new wife discovers his indiscretion.
A father, desperate to protect his flakey son from the repercussions of his actions, might find himself vulnerable to ever-widening circles of extortion.
In each of these six stand-alone film shorts from Argentina there’s a gross—yet somehow justifiable—overreaction to error. Are such overreactions helpful? Do they exacerbate the problem or wake people up? Do they bring justice or destruction?
Unlike most arthouse films, the plot of each one of these Wild Tales is incredibly entertaining. Although the message requires a little rumination, each series of events nails you between the eyes, and the scenes occupy your thoughts for days to come.
Like your average Western, the plots turn on revenge, but unlike your average western the characters use delightfully imaginative and unexpected means of correcting the balance of justice. If you sense any personal injustice at all, watching these responses is trulycathartic.
Director Szifron, speaking with Interview Magazine, made some relevant comments on the distracted state of the world today, ending with what looks like a call to mindfulness, something that’s getting harder to do these days:
“The technology is not stupid … But you have to be very brave not to use a cell phone today, and I have to force myself a lot to read a book. It’s very hard to read a book in this day because the Internet distracts you and you spend hours looking at a screen. So it’s very hard to have a serious, deep conversation with somebody or spend a considerable amount of time understanding something.”
In a nutshell? Our little mistakes can lead to disastrous consequences. The solution? Mindful acceptance or mindful revenge. Take your pick.
Wild Tales manifests four of the Mindful Bard’s criteria for films well worth seeing.
• It’s authentic, original, and delightful.
• It poses and admirably responds to questions that have a direct bearing on my view of existence.
• It provides a respite enabling me to renew myself for a return to mindful artistic endeavor.
• It makes me appreciate that life is a complex and rare phenomena, making living a unique opportunity.