Chaotic Ana Julio Medem

Chaotic Ana Julio Medem
With a reputation as one of Spain’s premier cinematic artists and moral button pushers, Julio Medem continues to bravely focus his views on art, passion, politics and the possibilities of consciousness in Chaotic Ana. Manuela Velles makes her film debut as Ana, a young painter from Ibiza who lives in a beachside cave with her widower father, whom she affectionately refers to as "Monster.” Her comfortable life of cave painting and nude swimming is interrupted by Justine (Charlotte Rampling), who offers Ana room, board and free art education at her institute in Madrid. Once in the big city, Ana, while never really portrayed as shy or guarded, opens up to the emotions of its citizens, her fingers weaving through the throngs of people like a cluster of feelers gleaning thoughts and energy. It’s odd but it’s not the first, or last, strangely surreal moment in Ana’s story, though it’s perhaps the most innocent gesture Medem has his heroine perform. Ana’s emerging sensory impressions receive a massive jolt when her gaze falls upon a beautiful and harsh sand-scape painting by her class-mate, the handsome and talented Said. After being shaken by a strange vision triggered by the painting, Ana leaps obsessively into a love affair with Said but this only intensifies her "daydreams.” During an encounter with a professional hypnotist, Ana has a breakdown in which she speaks to Said in a language she doesn’t understand but he does, causing him to flee in fear. Ana wakes up to find Said absent and immediately agrees to work with the hypnotist, who claims Ana has lived many other lives, all with a tragic and young ending. However, Ana is only interested in finding out what she said to make Said leave. The story is propelled with a sense of urgency by a countdown from ten to zero, as in hypnosis, and the wait is worthwhile and shocking. Manuela Velles is fearless and luminous in this challenging debut role, and Medem has crafted another beautifully surreal and confrontational celebration of the strength of femininity. Even if his methods will strike some as crude and bizarre, the impact is undeniable. (Mongrel Media)