Tesis (Thesis, Snuff-Movie, 1996)

US Tanelorn Films 2014 Blu-ray edition

Text below written 2016-11-02


Yes, yes, finally a genre film from Spain that i like.
I am normally bored with crime- and horror movies from
Spain as they almost always have these annoying Hollywoodian mainstream sensibilities to them and i often hate
the films that most other seem to love, as i.a. The Orphanage/El orfanato from 2007 and Los ojos de Julia/The
Eyes of Julia 2010, both with Belén Rueda in them (even though their suckiness are no fault of hers).
OK, Mientras duermes (Sleep Tight from 2011) with Luis Toser was pretty good admittedly, but the nihilistic
ending to that one was also annoying as i wanted the slime Toser being caught. Everything led up to him being an
untouchable and getting away with his crimes, so, a non surprise there too. Yes, i nearly forgot mentioning the
disgusting sentimental endings to all these 3 films, YUCK, fuck you Spain.

Ooops, another genre film from Spain i did like was The Body (2012, El Cuerpo) from Oriol Paulo. A GREAT
revenge crime-thriller about a man who may or may not have killed his rich older wife and with a body missing.
A very clever script, great acting and in this film Belén Rueda rocked as a powerful and bitchy rich woman.

Then we have the early films of Catalonian director Nacho Cerdá, the shorts Aftermath and Genesis (1994, 1998)
and also the interesting mess The Abandoned from 2006, i like him and do hope he will get to make another feature
film, besides the documentaries he has made the last decade. Also, i do like a spanish director who makes non-indie
films - Alejandro Amenábar, who made his feature film debut in 1996 with this film Tesis and won a bundle of Goya
awards for it. The film was a huge Hit and everyone liked it, but it's hard to find these days. Luckily a company called
Tanelorn Films has re-mastered this immensely enjoyable film to a pristine Blu-ray print in 2014.

I also liked his sci-fi thriller Abre los Ojos from 1997 but haven't seen his blockbuster The Others from 2001 (but i've
seen the Bollywood version though with Manisha Koirala and it was OK). I'm also very interested in seeing Amenábar's
historical drama Agora from 2009 about woman scientist Hypatia who was murdered by religious fanatics A.D. 415.
Obviously this movie flopped big as no one seems to've seen it, too little sword fighting and gore perhaps? Well, this
Spanish director, post-Tesis, seems to be an etablished mainstream filmmaker with the hailed drama Mar adentro from
2004 with Javier Bardem as his biggest success. In 2015 he returned to directing with another flop, thriller Regression
with Ethan Hawke as a policeman investigating a possible satanic cult. This i must see.

Another Ooops .... i finally saw Agora and it was hard to get hold of as it was a universal flop and it's out of stock
everywhere, i think i bought the last copy from Amazon. Agora is a MASTERPIECE, WOW! It looked beyond great
and Amenábar has created Alexandria 400 AD with no costs or work avoided, and it's very powerful in depicting the
intolerance and ignorance of religion when a christian mob brutally murdered the foremost scientist of it's time, the
mathematician, astronomer and philosopher Hypatia, beautifully performed by the great Rachel Weisz

............................................................ well, that was a diversion, now over to Tesis:

This crime thriller is an enjoyable murder mystery with red herrings thrown at us, and perhaps a Spanish Giallo bordering
to the horror film. Just what makes this film so good? I don't know, but there's that hard to define pulse to it, the actors,
the story, the pace and it just clicks. It's delightfully unpretentious and unsentimental and has becomed a beloved cult
classic (in Spain) and has been hard to find. Eduardo Noriega can be seen here in his first feature film. Tesis plays like
a Brian De Palma film anno Blow out & Dressed to Kill but without the set-pieces, and feels Refreshingly Un-Spanish.
Yes, i love the old De Palma and liked Tesis very much and sat with a big grin on my face after watching this film.
I especially liked Fele Martinez as Chema, a likeable misfit, but Eduardo Noriega and Ana Torrent were great too.

The Story:

The university student Angela (Ana Torrent) writes a thesis about audio-visual violence and it's influence on people,
and she talks her professor into borrowing her a banned film with forbidden images from the schools archives.
But the old professor dies when watching the film and she manages to steal the VHS video cassette. She watches it
with another misfit, the student Chema (Fele Martinez) a collector of violent movies and the film is a Snuff movie where
a young girl is killed. Chema recognizes the girl as a student that went missing 2 years ago and could her killer also be a
student? Misfit? Yes, beautiful Angela seems to be a sick puppy herself as she's a bit to eager to watch these images.
The Dynamic Duo of Angela and Chema starts sleuthing without telling anything to the police about their findings, that
sounds like a Spanish giallo to me. Who's the Killer? Red herrings are thrown at us en masse when this film twists away

widescreen 1.85:1, spanish audio 2.0 stereo with english subtitles
Extras: Introduction by director Alejandro Amenábar, Making of Featurette (23 min, in spanish with subs), Deleted
scenes (7 min), Storyboards and a Documentary from 2014 "Touching Death" (42 min) with Amenábar in english.

This Tanelorn Blu-ray edition was first released in 2011 and again in 2014 with the documentary added.

 

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