La Ultima Mirada (The Last Gaze)Director and scriptwriter: Patricia Arriaga JordanCast: Sergi Mateu, Marisol Centeno, Arcelia Ramirez, Gina Morett
CAIRO: One of the strongest contenders in this year s festival competition, La Ultima Mirada (The Last Gaze), has lived up to critics anticipation. The Mexican film has gotten the thumps up from critics involved in the preparation phase of the Cairo International Film Festival and during its first screening to the press, it didn t disappoint.
Although the plot flows in a conventional stream, it manages to keep viewers glued to the screen. It skillfully walks the thin line between conventional story telling and original filmmaking.
The film follows the lives of a 40-something artist on the verge of blindness and an optimistic young woman trying to make ends meet. Although their paths cross in the most peculiar ways, the two characters don t actually meet. And even though the connection tying the two isn t clear for the most part of the film, the movement of the camera from one live to the other was never disrupting.
The aspirations of the young woman that are sometimes shattered by reality contrast with the pessimism of the artist who can t accept his approaching blindness.
Meanwhile, both easily evoke sympathy albeit for different reasons.
Beside the well-crafted dialogue, the film also relies on symbolism, not only for providing a deeper meaning for the plot but also for connecting the two characters on another dimension.
The young woman is in love with moths, but it is the older artist who explains – in a parallel yet unrelated scene – that moths are drawn to any source of light that sometimes they burn in fires. This in turn reflects on the changes in her life.
The other main symbol that dominates the film is the color red. It s the only color the artist can distinguish in his almost-blind state. It just happens that every hope he clings to is colored with red.
The color, however, only connects the two characters at the very end.
But throughout the film the two symbols, the light and the color red, are brought together in a recurrent scene. The camera keeps shifting to white sheets stained with the color red.
As the film progresses the camera angle widens to show more of this unexplained scene, providing a thrilling factor to the sentimental tear-jerking story.