Home Entertainment Liborio review – brooding portrait of a beguilingly charismatic folk hero

Liborio review – brooding portrait of a beguilingly charismatic folk hero

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Here’s a placing and mysterious debut from the Dominican Republic, the place film-maker Nino Martínez Sosa recounts an enchanting true-life story of occupation and resistance from the flip of the final century. Olivorio Mateo was a peasant and religion healer who turned recognized to his disciples as Papa Liborio; he constructed a self-sufficient group within the mountains. However when US forces occupied within the 1910s, Liborio was branded a bandit, and killed.

Not that you simply’d know any of the historic information from watching this, which is ready squarely within the arthouse endurance-test style: there’s little to no scene-setting or explainers, with the type of pacing typically euphemistically described by critics as “deliberate”. It begins after Liborio vanishes from his village throughout a hurricane, presumed lifeless. When he’s discovered alive, he claims to have returned from God with therapeutic powers and takes a band of followers up into the mountains.

Is he a charlatan? Madman? Or just an inspirational group chief? Director Sosa’s reply appears to be that the reality is unknowable. So he tells the story by means of the eyes of six believers, starting with Liborio’s son. However essentially the most transferring is from the attitude of a lady who begs Liborio to carry again her toddler little one from the lifeless. A powerfully charismatic main efficiency by Vicente Santos is the pressure of gravity right here. He performs Liborio as an ambiguous character: typically he appears excessive on a messiah advanced; at others his spirituality feels real. Ultimately he turns into a tragic hero. Santos’s efficiency is a reminder that awards season solely dishes out gongs to a small nook of the film-making world.

Liborio is shot very merely, utilizing handheld cinematography that provides it a contemporary really feel, and the soundtrack is alive with the sounds of nature. There’s an particularly good second when an American commander is attempting to sleep. This can be a man who calls Liborio a “witch physician” and rides into the group vowing to instil regulation and order (a fast look round would inform him this can be a mannequin group). A mosquito buzzes round his mattress, an intruder and undesirable, very like himself.

​Liborio is on the market on 26 January on Mubi.

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