SXSW Film Reviews

Gorgeously shot and superbly acted, Felicidades is a fascinating nightmare.

Felicidades/Happy Holidays

D: Lucho Bender; with Gaston Pauls, Pablo Cedron, Silke, Luis Machin, Carlos Belloso. (35mm, 100 min.)

Time races by, yet everything happens in maddening slow motion. Murky shadows are flooded with brilliant light, but nothing is illuminated. Characters cross paths but have no real connection. And in the background, always, children sing carols in sweet, lilting voices. It's Christmas Eve, and four men are caught up in a strange, entangling web. A philandering author runs out of gas and looks for help in the bowels of a nuclear power plant. A lonely doctor tries to hook up with a beautiful woman only to be detained by a manipulative paraplegic. A sweet, befuddled dentist shopping for his son's Christmas present is detained by corrupt police who force him to take stolen goods from a criminal's apartment. A two-bit comic, stranded in the middle of nowhere, amuses himself by doing dolphin impersonations. Gorgeously shot and superbly acted, Felicidades is a fascinating nightmare. Everything is off-kilter and nothing really makes any sense, but it burns an image onto your brain that you just can't shake. (Paramount, 3/16, 11am)

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