For fans of German expressionist films such as Metropolis and The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, this modern Argentine take on the genre will have you glued to your screen. Director Esteban Sapir lets his imagination shine throughout this monochromatic masterpiece.
The film centers around an unnamed city where the residents have lost their voices and speak through floating subtitles. The only character who is know to have retained the ability to talk aloud is the mysterious “La Voz”, translated to English as “The Voice”. She is a cloaked faceless women who we soon learn is concealing a dangerous secret. The film follows the fast paced plot of her kidnapping and rescue by a dysfunctional and quirky family.
Striking visuals make up for the lack of colours in the film’s palette and the mainly instrumental soundtrack. The character of “La Voz” reminded me of a the hooded figure in the 1943 experimental film Meshes of the Afternoon, but with the contrast reversed. Her song and dance number were a brilliant momentary break from the dreary atmosphere that enveloped the better part of the movie. The director has included a large amount of symbolism, but this fact did not deter me from enjoying the plot and outcome during the first viewing. If you are feeling ambitious, you can take your time to spot all the cinematic references, allusions, and metaphors, but La Antena can be enjoyed purely for its creativity and originality.
This is a movie that I wish would have had more exposure in international cinema circles, as it showcases the imaginative minds of all those involved in its production. Don’t be put off by the low budget and obscure nature of this film because it really is a gem that should be discovered.
Sapir’s film does not have the big budget look of The Artist, but it does not lack in quality in any way. This is a must watch movie for fans of German Expressionism and foreign films alike. You’ll be too busy picking out the symbolism in every scene before you can succumb to any boredom.
Directed by Esteban Sapir
Cast includes Alejandro Urdapilleta, Rafael Ferro, Florencia Raggi, and Julieta Cardinali