For those of you who think that all foreign films are drab and dreary, Los Debutantes may reinforce that belief. Written and directed by Andres Waissbluth, it tells the story of two brothers in Chile who celebrate Victor’s (the younger brother’s) birthday by going to a strip club. He falls in love with one of the dancers there named Gracia and attempts to pursue her (even during her day job, when she is the attendant at an adult theater), despite the feelings his older brother Silvio has for her.
The…story shows several different points of view in 30-40 minute periods, first you see the Victor’s, then Silvio’s, then Gracia’s, followed by the dramatic and violent ending the film seems destined for. Granted, the plot twists are familiar to other nonlinear films like Rashomon or Pulp Fiction, but the characters, particularly Gracia, dream of lives beyond their current state, and look to do better. Victor goes to school, while Silvio works to make Victor’s life easier.
While Weissbluth’s script may have some elements derived from other films, he does a good job of capturing the material, as this is a dark film with shady characters, and even when you’d expect a glorious love scene, you don’t get one, as the lighting is so bad as to subtlety tell you that good things really can’t happen down here. Los Debutantes proves to be interesting in that sense.
The Dolby Digital 2.0 surround track is serviceable, and the soundtrack sounds clear on the disc. Waissbluth is apparently a drummer in one of the bands on the soundtrack, so he had a vested interest in ensuring things sound good I guess.
The film is presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. Since most of what occurs is in a Chilean strip club, the color scheme is pretty dark and subdued. What few colors that occur aren’t presented too vividly, and the overall gritty nature of the subject remains intact for the DVD.
Aside from two trailers, including one for the film, nary an extra is to be found here.
A noirish picture with nods to different directors of present day, Los Debutantes is an interesting film with several good performances. It’s not the cheeriest of films, but it’s worth checking out on video.
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