“Our Lady of the Assassins”
Realistic and Subversive
“Our Lady of the Assassins” is steeped in dreamlike surrealism and lives you with a very strong dose of cinema verite. The movie tells the story of the city of Medellin where lives a Colombian writer, Fernando, who is both disgusted with life and contemptuous of religion He becomes involved sexually and romantically with teenaged boys of Medellin who kill randomly and without effort or provocation. What appalls him at first eventually becomes addictive to the deaths that the boys cause and how they can magically resolve the everyday problems of life. There are some amazing surprises in the movie and the screenplay is taut and flawless. Philosophical in outlook, it is a feast for the thinking person. The ambivalent feeling for religion gives a great deal of food for thought especially since our hero appears in places of worship on many occasions.
The characters do not deal with staying human in a big city but rather staying human in an instable state. The fact that Colombia has been in a state of civil war for fifty years and narcotic trafficking play heavily upon the plot. The theme of the shift from the traditional and old to the modern age is powerful.
The violence of the film reflects the violence of the times. Like “The Godfather”, the killings are there to make a point. The subversiveness of the film, to me, at least, is what makes it so rewarding. What we have is a gay couple made up of an older man who has sex with younger boys (who do so willingly) and his younger compatriot. As the two ramble around the city, they are critical of everything in it. Alexis, the young boy, kills everyone who threatens him and Fernando. They ridicule every aspect of life—nothing is fine with them. The writer is obviously lost and there is no resolution offered.
The material is rich and literary as it delves into perversions that are personal. It is a shocking and sensuous film and the brutality is honest and depicted because it is so honest.
We are forced to question the daily value of life and just how much violence can be tolerated.
Questioning can only make us better people. We have had the story of Colombia has been broadcast on the news to no end. There seems to be no neutralization and that is what we get from “Our Lady of the Assassins”.