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A Monster with a Thousand Heads 

Wednesday, May 25 2016
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Rodrigo Plá's A Monster with a Thousand Heads is a Kafkaesque tale set in the labyrinthine world of bureaucracy. After her husband's cancer takes a turn for the terminal, and their longtime insurance company declines his much-needed treatment for no discernible reason, Sonia (Jana Raluy) takes matters into her own hands. She travels through Mexico City, rounding up at gunpoint the people required to sign the required paperwork to approve his treatment, all with her teenage son Dario (Sebastián Aguirre) in tow. For a portrait of a woman driven to such desperate measures, Plá shoots much of the film from other people's point of view, using these new characters' testimony as narration. Sonia's eventual (but largely unseen) trial, occasionally rewinds slightly to show recent scenes from these strangers' points of view. Sonia is the protagonist and the driving force, but she's also regularly sidelined by the mise-en-scène, presented as just another cog in the big machine around her, and one that other cogs are annoyed to have to contend with even when she isn't pointing a gun at them. This is of course the point, and if A Monster with a Thousand Heads never quite finds a release for the tension and anger it builds up, that may also be the point.

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Sherilyn Connelly

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