peteg's blog - noise - movies - 2024 05 16 ElConde

El Conde (2023)

/noise/movies | Link

Co-writer/director Pablo Larraín and co-writer Guillermo Calderón make Augusto Pinochet into a literal vampire (Jaime Vadell) and shot him in fabulous black-and-white. While potentially quite fertile they don't seem to know where to go so they introduce a nun (Paula Luchsinger) who, with a dispensation from the Church, has designs on both The Count and his loot. Notionally she's there to help The Count's five grasping children obtain their inheritance. Things burn slowly until a flurry of biting and backbiting, somewhat hastened by an underdeveloped Margaret Thatcher (Stella Gonet and in flashback Sofía Maluk), hurries the conclusion. It's heavy on symbolic references — I'm sure I missed most of them — but few have telling consequences.

Edward Lachman's cinematography is gorgeous. (He also assembled The Velvet Underground and shot Mildred Pierce and Howl and so on.)

A New York Times Critic's Pick by Amy Nicholson. Cheeky. The Count is hiding out in Patagonia. Doesn't have a satisfying resolution. Shane Danielsen. Alfredo Castro is indeed good as the loyal White Russian manservant. A saggy middle and a slightly-out-of-control end. Carlos Aguilar.