There have been very few occasions when I have watched a film without knowing anything about the director or actors in it. This turned out to be a very good thing, because now that I have seen Capture, I am intrigued to see what the director, Fernando Merinero, and the actors will be working on next. When you’re done reading this review, hopefully you will be curious to watch Capture, even if you are not a native Spanish speaker.
Merinero, a Spanish director whose previous directing credits include Penelope’s Journey and Lazaro’s Girlfriend, delivers a film that was recently named the best feature at the Drunken Film Fest, and can be described as a comedic, experimental documentary, inspired by the eventful lives of the actors on his first feature film. As the film begins, you are quickly introduced to Merinero‘s character, himself as a director.
You really don’t know anything about his background or his career as a filmmaker except for the fact that he loves to experiment with cameras. In his own words, a photograph captures your soul in certain cultures. This is the concept that Merinero narrates before you begin the adventure of enjoying this fun and revealing feature. Magaly (Magaly Santana) is the actress that he worked with on his first film, who surprisingly followed the footsteps of what her character did, and even served jail time for it.
Driven by her mysterious ways, Merinero proposes to actresses he finds about playing the role of his girlfriend in a documentary about Magaly, but without her knowing that he is the director of it. On paper, this is what you expect to see in the film, but what you get is far from it.
The humor in Capture is one of its best qualities. This isn’t the humor that comes from telling a good joke, but rather from the spontaneous situations that the characters find themselves in. The experimental format of the film lends itself to be very comedic in tone. The characters all have such distinct personalities, and the funny nature of their conversations helps keep the pace of the film moving smoothly.
Acting allows you to change your reality on stage, and it is liberating to do it because you can play with what is true or false. Sara is the first character that we are introduced to in the film, and while she has no problem playing the lover of one of the cameramen in the documentary that Merinero proposes them to make, she is very adamant about not deceiving Magaly, because she doesn’t like to fool anyone. Him is asking her to do this on film as an actress, and not in real life, is what makes it funny.
The reason why Merinero is approaching the documentary in such a comedic, experimental, and secretive way is because he wants to play Magaly’s game; the same one that she played with him. While it is Merinero who is fully aware of his mission with the documentary, it is so humorous to see how the actresses simply cannot go with the flow of his filming process. What he proposes to them is simple, but as you will see, things take dramatic and funny turns.
Experimental and Fun
Long after watching Capture, the strongest impression it left me with was how original it was. No one should approach a film with the expectation of comparing it to another if they loved or hated it; however, I have yet to see anything like this film in particular.
The experimental aspect of the film works wonderfully as well because the truth is that we have to experiment to discover the truth. Merinero talks about this concept in the film. Especially as it relates to film, sometimes it is much better for us to not know everything that is going to happen, otherwise, there is nothing to learn from during the filming process. In other words, directors probably go through trial and error as they prepare to make a film of any kind. As an audience, we watch the final product, but we will never understand the trial and error process directors go through before they release the final feature.
There is an expectation of watching Capture a certain way based on the trailer and what you have read here, but the experimental aspect of it leads it in a different direction. In the end, there is no part of the film that wasn’t carefully planned through the art of experimenting with what Merinero had to work with. When you experiment in film, it implies that you will have a mix of positive and negative results, which is exactly what happens here. Any change in the turn of events, and we could be talking about an entirely different film, but that’s the beauty of experimenting: you don’t know what will happen in the end.
The other lasting impression that Capture left me with is that it is such a fun film to watch. There is a very direct message that it delivers in terms of how a photograph can capture your soul in certain cultures. The same can be said about movies. We are living in an era where things can seem very superficial because of social media, but if we look beyond the pictures and selfies, we have a lot to discover about each other if we have the courage to bare our souls through a more experimental medium, like Capture did.
This is a film that you should look forward to watching because of the originality that Fernando Merinero brings to it. It may sound cliché, but a lot can be said about the unique work that a director can bring to a film, and you can see that with this experimental feature. The dialogue is clever and funny, and the story will leave you wondering what will happen next. Perhaps it is just me, but I haven’t see any film like this one before. After watching Capture, hopefully you will look at movies differently, as directors constantly experiment with what they have to make a fun an unpredictable adventure for you to enjoy.
What do you think about films done in a experimental way? Do you have a director in mind that you would like to see use this style for their next film?