xXx: Return of Xander Cage
The last forty minutes of the movie do come together in a pretty diverting way.
South Americans call it “dream realism,” a way of transmuting the painful reality of everyday life by enriching it with dreams, legends, superstitions and romance. The most famous work of dream realism is the novel One Hundred Years of Solitude, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, but you can see it, too, in films like “El Topo” and “Bye Bye Brazil” and in the butterfly sequence of “El Norte.” Now here is the first film written by Garcia Marquez; it was being shot when he won the Nobel Prize in 1982.
“Erendira” tells a story which, by any realistic measure, is tragic and grim. The title character, a 14-year-old girl, lives with her strange grandmother in a vast, gloomy house in the middle of the desert. One night she neglects to extinguish the candles. The house burns down, and the grandmother matter-of-factly forces the girl into a life of prostitution to pay her back for the lost property.
They travel from town to town, following the journeys of itinerant entertainers and tradesmen, and in every town the young girl passively submits to her fate, and the old grandmother counts the money and harangues the crowds.
If it were told as social realism, this would be a sordid tale. Garcia Marquez does not see it that way, and neither does his Brazilian director, Ruy Guerra. They see it as a legend and a ritual, surrounded by gaudy images and a jaundiced view of human nature. In their film, the heat has been turned up under the visuals: The house in the desert is fantastical in its spookiness, and when Erendira and her grandmother pitch their tent, it looks like it belongs in an Eastern bazaar.