Robe of Gems – Berlinale review

Robe of Gems – Berlinale review

Isabel and her family take possession of her mother’s villa in rural Mexico where they reconnect with their long-time domestic worker Mari. But things have never been the same since Isabel’s mother left. Once so well looked after, the house is now bare and neglected. Isabel and her husband are growing apart, and their children are increasingly worried about them. Mari’s sister’s disappearance has left her family in distress and forced her to engage in criminal activities with Adan, the son of a local policewoman. Isabel decides to go on a dangerous quest, neglecting her own children, as well as her housekeeper’s warning that she does not understand how things work in Mexico’s poorer regions.

Last year Berlinale presented us A cop movie, which dealt with the the state if corruption and disrepute of the Mexican police. The connection are clear with this new Mexican film in Berlinale Competition by Natalia López Gallardo. This time we explore more rural areas, where the population is living under the constant look of gangs that run everything in the everyday life. The wide blurry shots of the film try to give us a distant look of everything that is happening, while the script introduces us to too many characters and sub-stories that do not always make a significant difference to the main story, making the film to lose its central narrative. The result is that we learn too little for the characters motivation and drive drive, with no character at the end being familiar or expressed his fully potential in regard to the story. The point of view might be realistic and serving the goals of the director on  distancing her directing from the characters, but the result feels distant and cold, even in some supposedly socking and violent developments.

Grade 2/5

by Natalia López Gallardo
with Nailea Norvind, Antonia Olivares, Aida Roa, Juan Daniel Garcia Treviño, Sherlyn Zavala Diaz
Mexico / Argentina / USA 2022
Duration: 118’

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