Santa Teresa y otras historias, Nelson Carlo de Los Santos Arias, Mexico, 2015, 65m, DCP, Spanish
How can a novel which seems impossible to adapt to the big screen be adapted to the big screen? This is an attempt to turn Roberto Bolaño’s 2666 into a free film.
In the city of Santa Teresa, on the border between Mexico and the United States, investigator Juan de Dios Martínez—part journalist, part detective—tries to uncover the truth surrounding a series of female homicides. As we alluded to above, the resulting film approaches cinema as a completely free territory: if this is a film about the border between two countries, so too is it about breaking the limits of cinema, bring down walls between fiction and documentary, and doing away with storytelling and structural conventions. The film presents us with a succession of stories which are connected to each other in ways which are sometimes obvious, other times secretive, and at times profound or surprising. This is a pluralistic, unclassifiable and chameleonic style of cinema and perhaps the only way to take on certain challenges, like the one set down by the Caribbean director in his first film.
Born in Santo Domingo and trained in Buenos Aires, Edinburgh and Los Angeles, his own life experience appears to be responsible for this powerful pluralistic narrative and one which is libertarian and unclassifiable. His second film, Cocote (2017), was screened in the Latin Horizons section of the San Sebastián Film Festival after having won the prize for the Signs of Life section of the Locarno Festival. The people in this town can be sure, therefore, that what we are talking about is one of the most daring and interesting directors on the international stage.
Santa Teresa y otras historias won the Georges de Beauregard prize at the Marseille Festival of Documentary Film and was later shown at festivals including Toronto, New York, Vienna and Mar del Plata, where it won Best Latin American Film.