Thursday, October 1, 2020


It’s best to go in to Fauna completely blind (I realize saying that will immediately turn most of you away from this review, so for those of you that continue on reading my spoiler-free thoughts - I thank you). While this isn’t exactly something that you can “spoil”, it's also a film that you don’t just stumble upon (it’s a 70-minute long abstract foreign film where nothing much seems to happen). Chances are this is something that’s already on your radar.
After praising this movie on twitter and on the pink smoke, I came to the realization that I may have built up everyone’s expectations. I do stand by my overall assessment that outside of the basic plot, Fauna has touches of everyone & everything from early Amat Escalante & Jim Jarmusch, to Soderbergh’s Schizopolis & pinches of Lucrecia Martel. I’d even go so far as to compare Fauna to Yorgos Lanthimos’ underseen debut; Kinetta as both movies have the same dry low-energy/deadpan-ish atmosphere.

There’s even a brief moment that felt like an homage to a scene in Jarmusch’s Stranger Than Paradise where we get a shady exchange/hand-off...

Stranger Than Paradise /

The Schizopolis comparison comes from the fact that midway in to Fauna, the story switches and the same actors from the first section of the film play completely different characters in the last half (like Soderbergh & Betsy Brantley in Schizopolis).
Nicolas Pereda even goes so far as to make the actors in Fauna wear intentionally bad wigs just like Soderbergh did in his film...

Schizopolis / Fauna

Schizopolis / Fauna

But don’t expect the outward silliness of Schizopolis or the creepy surreality of The Untamed (Escalante) or Zama (Martel). If anything, it’s like the banal & “boring” parts from all the aforementioned films mixed in to one subtle movie mixtape. Considering what the film is “about”, I think director Nicolas Pereda made an intentionally boring film to throw the audience off. Every synopsis about Fauna on the internet focuses on Perada’s commentary about drug trafficking & drug culture and it’s negative effect on Mexico (recent stuff like Sicario, Narcos, etc).
When the average person thinks of those things they probably imagine coke deals, shootouts, throat-slitting etc. Fauna has absolutely none of that. Actually, Nicolas Pereda’s criticism of the romanticization of Mexican drug culture doesn’t even come in to play until the last 30 minutes and the film is only 70-something minutes to begin with (there is a brief moment early on in the film where he addresses a Narcos-like show but you don’t even realize the importance of that moment until the very end).

I appreciate Nicolas Pereda essentially trolling audiences (in the most mature way one can troll) who are/were expecting scenes of Uzis & AK-47s or drug kingpins surrounded by cocaine bags and instead he gives us an almost Chantal Akerman-esque story of two sibling going off to the Mexican countryside to visit their parents (while there are some outright criticisms of the romanticization of drug culture on Mexico, the bulk of the film is an intentionally “boring” and somewhat awkward family reunion).

Fauna is most certainly an acquired taste. It feels like the equivalent of going to see a traditional stand-up comedian but getting Neil Hamburger or Andy Kaufman instead. If you like Hamburger or Kaufman then great! If you don’t, you’ll probably walk out 15 minutes in to the show.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...