Las altas presiones [The High Pressures] (2014)

Las altas presiones
Director: Ángel Santos
Writer: Miguel Gil, Ángel Santos
Cast: Andrés Gertrúdix, Itsaso Arana, Diana GómezJuan Blanco, Marta Pazos, Hugo Torres
Part of: Scope100 (last year, I participated in the Scope50 project)
Seen on: 30.12.2015

Miguel (Andrés Gertrúdix) is a filmmaker who got stuck on his sophomore feature after a rather successful debut. He returns to his hometown with a camera, not for his own project but instead as a location scout for somebody else’s film. He looks up his old friend, but only finds her sister Paula (Diana Gómez) and meets Alicia (Itsaso Arana) at a party, a nurse and the only person without artistic aspirations in the circle of friends. Together they decide to look up Paula’s sister Monica (Marta Pazos) and her boyfriend Bruno (Hugo Torres) as Miguel’s attempts to work become increasingly aimless.

Every once in a while, Las altas presiones has some very nice imagery and great locations. But there was only one scene in it that I actually enjoyed, so that’s pretty much all the positive remarks I can make.


Without knowing anything about Ángel Santos going into the film, after having seen it, I would have taken any bet that Santos himself was undergoing the very same crisis as Miguel. And of course I don’t know anything about Santos and his life, but it is a fact that Las Altas Presiones is Santos’ second film, so at least that part of my feeling seems to be true.

And to be honest, it’s a topic I couldn’t care less about anymore. How many films and books do we have that are all about the poor creative dude (and it’s always a man, usually white, often young) who is stuck in a rut and just needs something to get out of it. And as the thinly-veiled author stand-in navelgazes apathetically, he still manages to make it clear that everybody else who is producing something around him, is just a misguided faker who can’t possibly reach his artistic heights. As little as I am impressed by that mix of egotism and snobbery, I’m even less interested in their romantic pursuits – which usually only mean that the thinly-veiled author stand-in gets to make out with many women.

Las_altas_presiones1The only time the movie really comes alive is when the group arrives in Portugal where Monica and Bruno live. Suddenly it was a different film, one where people and not cardboard cut-outs interacted with each other. Where we got actual emotions and a sense of humor and warmth. Most of that comes from Marta Pazos who is simply wonderful as Monica. Her short bit and her interactions with Bruno made me desperately wish that we could just leave Miguel and make the film all about them.

But it wasn’t to be. Instead we got stuck with drudgery that looked pretty at times (especially the shots in the old pottery factory looked great). And I just didn’t give a flying fuck about any of it.

Las_altas_presiones2Summarizing: Skip it.

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