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Capturing Megalomanic Grief: El Hueco

the movie poster for El Hueco

Those of you with video streaming subscriptions may have, like us, scrolled past the unassuming short film El Hueco last year while perusing the movie lists for something to watch. Should you not speak Spanish, you may have been turned off by the idea of exhausting subtitles or, perhaps, the graveyard thumbnail suggested a plot that was unappealingly grim. You are not alone if you dismissed the possibility that El Hueco would be something you’d enjoy, we initially felt the same way, but—we cannot emphasize this enough—El Hueco is a masterpiece that should not be missed!

a group of somber people carrying flowers stand in a cemetery

This award-winning Peruvian work, written and directed by Daniel Martín and Germán Tejada, is a brief 14 minutes. While the plot is dense and outstandingly rich, the film is flawlessly terse on script. Rather than rely on narration, the plot is communicated largely by evocative protagonist, Robert, portrayed by Emilram Cossío. Here is the summary of the story:

Robert is saving his money in an effort to buy the cemetery plot alongside that of his long-time love, Yenni, but when he goes to claim it, he finds that it has been sold to someone else. Robert's megalomania and jealousy lead him to hallucinatory and emotional extremes in an effort to spend eternity alongside the object of his affection. (1)

a man brings flowers to the grave of his partner

An expression of grief, frustration, and aptly described megalomania, the film is an abundantly funny and refreshingly creative adaptation of what is too often a cliched tale of coping with the loss of a partner. Cossío is a boldly expressive actor, and his ability to project his blistering emotion through often petulant body language stunningly elevates the comedy captured by Tejada and Martin. Just watch this brief excerpt from the piece. While following Cossío walking with contorted tension through the cemetery, his back to us, we can feel the explosiveness of his anger and the questionable, fragile sanity of the character. It leaves us awe-struck each time we watch it!

The cinematography, constructed by Andrés Mazzon, creates an air of graphic and somber futility while Robert is tested by the characters around him whom challenge his ability to fulfill his sole goal of spending eternity beside his love. It’s a stunning presentation of grief and, at a satisfyingly concentrated 14 minutes, it is well worth a watch.

a cemetery full of white crosses. In the distance a man stands at the grave of his partner while a man plays the harp beside him

We shared this film with several peers, all of whom were initially reluctant to indulge us, but, ultimately, the short was met with bursts of authentic laughter, resounding appreciation, and unwavering approval from now devout fans. In less than fifteen minutes, El Hueco deeply imprinted on our psyches and, to this day, those in the aforementioned reluctant audience frequently quote and reference the film with astonishing regularity and undeniable reverence. We implore you to watch this magnificent piece of work! We promise you won't be disappointed.

two men sit at a paper-covered table in a dimly lit room


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