Rey (12)

Rey (12)

Directed by Niles Atallah
Cinematography by Benjamin Rehazarreta
Picturehouse, Liverpool
5th – 11th January 2018

Reviewed by Colin Serjent

This is an extraordinary film. It is abstract in the extreme, including the picture constantly breaking up (as if Rey, the main protagonist was having mental disorders), flickering colour patterns and extreme distorted sound frequencies.

The diversity of the production is perhaps illustrated by the range of producers involved, including from Qatar, Chile, Germany, The Netherlands and France.

For most of the time the actors wear papier-mache masks, making the characters portrayed somewhat anonymous. The most potent section of this surreal aspect were the court scenes, when Rey is on trial before Chilean authorities for declaring himself King of Mapuche, which they consider part of Chile and thus an unlawful act.

Rey (Rodrigo Lisboa), meaning God, was a lawyer named Tounens from France who made this absurd claim.

It took director Niles Atallah seven years to create ‘Rey’, during which time he buried the 35mm, 16mm and 8mm film in his back garden for later inclusion. It was, as he commented, ” narrative devices to depict deteriorating memories, wild visions of the protagonist’s developing madness, and to raise problems of history and memory by including these degraded visual and aural images in to the final film.”

Some have compared ‘Rey’ to ‘Eraserhead’, directed by David Lynch, because of its experimental and radical approach.. I would not disagree.

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