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May 7, 2009

Lock-Out, 1973

lockout.gifIn its tongue-in-cheek illustration of misguided revolutionaries, Antoni Padrós's Lock-Out suggests a rough hewn and metaphoric - if more impenetrable and decidedly uneven - precursor to Rainer Werner Fassbinder's The Third Generation, interweaving episodes of straightforward narrative, dream-like interludes, and political manifesto into an abstract portrait of resistance and marginalization. For former finance worker Walter and his motley group of friends, ground zero for revolution is appropriately found in a salvage yard, where they have set up camp to pursue their own version of Francoist ideals to live off the land - albeit through recycling scrap materials rather than farming. Dropping out of society to lead a bohemian existence, the freedom they had hoped to find in the discarded rubble continues to elude them, their lives complicated by an unexpected pregnancy, romantic rivalries, and boredom. However, when their tedium is broken one day by the unexplained appearance of a handsome stranger who silently watches over them and refuses to leave, the friends decide to abandon their paradise and return to their former lives. Commemorating their return to "civilization" with a celebration, the friends soon discover that their delirious rite of passage is akin to a death ritual. Alternating between commitment and indulgence, absurdity and inanity, Lock-Out is perhaps the most artisanal and demanding installment in the series, where all-too-organic editing decisions to leave in verbal gaffes, miscues, and giggle fits sharply contrast against highly formalized, Bergmanesque shots and swooning pans (in particular, the celebration sequence) that invite germinal comparison to the intoxicated dance in Béla Tarr's Sátántangó. In hindsight, the captured sense of grotesqueness and dysfunction behind Franco's conservative ideals is paradoxically lost in the noise, translating as cavalier observation rather than call to action.

Posted by acquarello on May 07, 2009 | | Filed under 2009, Clandestine Catalan Cinema Under Franco