Love and scandal are the best sweeteners of tea. —Henry Fielding

18 September 2016

The Club

Pablo Larraín has two movies that will be released in the U.S. in 2016. Look for Neruda in December (Neruda, like El Club was last year, is Chile's submission to the Academy Awards Foreign Language Film category for 2016). Larraín also seems, at this point, to be the one Chilean director whose films are getting imported into the U.S. market with regularity.

El Club follows a group of priests and a nun who are living in an isolated Chilean town in a kind of home for disgraced clergy, men and women whom the Catholic church wants to take care of, but whom it no longer wants contacting parishioners.

The men and one woman in the eponymous club are unbelievably selfish, entitled individuals, and the film displays its characters unsparingly and without sympathy, but... at the same time, the movie seems to rest on and enjoy the success of these characters, even while condemning their behaviors.

El Club is a portrait of evil, psychopathy, and cruelty. The film also tries to describe tragedy in many ways, but for me it fell short of this because it didn't sympathize with victims of violence as much as it aligned itself with its perpetrators by asking us to enjoy their evil machinations.

I am not sure that this is what Larraín intended, but it is what I saw when I watched the movie.