Arcangel

Went along to the CCA for a night of short films being put on by CinemaAttic, Map of Mexican Dreams. Absolutely stowed it was.

It kicked off with Arcangel. The title character is a man who travels to the city, carrying an old woman on his back, in an attempt to try to find a place where she will be taken care of, now that he is losing his sight. Amid the bustle and beeps of the strange and indifferent city, Arcangel wades through bureaucracy to try to get his charge Patro in a state-run old folk’s home.

Only elderly people with no family can be taken in by the state, and the tenderness with which Arcangel cares for Patro makes the administrators believe he is her son, which would give them grounds to dismiss their claim. Whether he is or not is kinda besides the point, the film shows a world where kindness and doing for others is not valued, even treated with suspicion, and pitiless and ruthless indifference to the suffering of others is the status quo of the state. Arcangel arrives in the city with the bonds of community literally tying Patro to him, yet as he becomes an anonymous indigent sleeping on the streets of the city, they seem like they will become hopelessly and inevitably undone.

Several times in the film we see the world through Arcangel’s eyes. His blurring eyesight settles on, then with effort brings into view, the sign on the building for the old folk’s home. His world is becoming full of shadows instead of people. His blindness is contrasted to the blindness of those in the city. Their blurred figures walk past him on the street, and they do not see him at all. The clerks at the old folk’s home accepts a fake ID paper, but refuses to accept the obvious need of an elderly and infirm woman. They have chosen to be blind to him, and yet, with his failing eyesight, Arcangel is the only one able to see Patro’s suffering.

Really good wee film.

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