Bullet in the Head, 2008

In a way, Bullet in the Head continues to push the level of alienation created in Jaime Rosales’s earlier films, The Hours of the Day (shot from the perspective of a serial killer) and Solitary Fragments (shot from the parallel perspectives of a terrorist attack survivor and members of an estranged family), this time, to maddening – and arguably dislocated – effect. During the Q&A for the film, Rosales indicated that he wanted to create a new film language in order to reflect the need for new ways of communication on the still unresolved, decades old Basque issue. In hindsight, Rosales’s strategy seems woefully incongruous to his near wordless approach to the film. Ostensibly based on the real-life, deadly chance encounter between ETA members and unarmed Spanish police officers near the Franco-Spanish border, Rosales exclusively uses generic, ambient street sounds in lieu of conversations (with the exception of a brief, verbal exchange between the terrorists and the police officers on a cafeteria parking lot) effectively negates the idea of fostering dialogue on domestic terrorism, creating instead a murky and underformed correlation between silent witness and moral complicity.

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