July 18, 2012

Perras (2011)

"Ten girls are suspected of committing a horrible crime, and until they confess, they won't be able to leave their school."

It's not often that I watch any Mexican films, but something about "Perras" intrigued me. I'm not sure if it was the beautiful cinematography or the mystery which wasn't revealed until the very end, but I loved every second of it.

I have no clue who the director, Guillermo Ríos, is or what he has done before, but I could tell that he was influenced by "Whispering Corridors" (1998) and "Amélie" (2001). That's no bad thing either because I love those movies. "Perras" even made me want to watch the rest of the "Whispering Corridors" series although I know that I'd be very disappointed.

There was even some similarity to "Dead Friend" (2004) which is known as "The Ghost" on Netflix. Although the plots are completely different, I think that you'll also see what I mean.

"Perras" means "female dogs" or "bitches", but I'm not sure that the latter is the best translation. The title really refers to the lowest class of Mexican girl rather than their bitchiness towards each other even though there was plenty of that going on too. Even re-translating the title as "sluts" or "wannabe sluts" might be closer to the truth yet still not entirely accurate.

As a probably completely misogynistic insight into the suggested world of Mexican teenagers, "Perras" certainly had a lot of social commentary which you can take or leave. If you also believe that "Quadrophenia" (1979) was in any way a fair representation of 1960s Britain then you'd be wrong too. I don't think that "Perras" was ever supposed to be a refection of reality, but the internal logic of the film makes it appear to be so.

Of course, the "real" critics and film students would have a field day dissecting "Perras", but that's not what I ever choose to do. I watch movies to be entertained not to have the preachiness of "Kidulthood" (2006) or even "Kids" (1995) forced into my subconscious. "Perras" was a lot more subtle than either of those pieces of nastiness even though there were certainly a couple of very shocking and bloody scenes as well.

Given that this was all in Spanish, I'm inclined to say that the acting was excellent. The really bitchy girl, Sofia (in the centre of the picture above), was outstanding, but there were no weak links at all.

I don't know the names of any of the actresses, and I have no idea of their ages, so this may make me sound like a pervert, but some of them were incredibly beautiful. They made me wish that I was at least twenty years younger and lived in Mexico so I could be rejected by all of them. Seriously, the girls in this were hot!

As for the mystery itself, it was masterfully played out. Being dropped into the middle of things (in medias res, baby!) with various flashbacks while not knowing what the "horrible crime" was until the end was an absolute joy for me. I liked all of the characters and could have watched another four hours of them if the director had chosen to do it.

"Perras" was not a movie which could ever have a sequel without going in a very different and mainstream direction, but I'd definitely like to see more of these characters as they grow up.

Like a very tasty but small-portioned meal, "Perras" left me satisfied by the quality but still wanting more. I highly recommend it.

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