El Aura

Year: 2005

Writer & Director: Fabian Bielinsky

Budget: ?

Gross: $56 103 (United States), ARS 1 458 848 (Argentina)

a couple of weeks ago (during For Your Reconsideration: 1974 Academy Awards) i briefly mentioned the film Nine Queens when discussing The Sting and con men movies in general. well, that made me remember a film that i had purchased at a sidewalk sale last summer that had been sitting on the shelf. the film is El Aura, and the reason it came to mind was because i bought the film because it was directed by the same guy, fabian bielinsky, who did Nine Queens.

Nine Queens was a great movie, and fabians first film. and with El Aura he completely avoided the "sophomore slump".

the film is about an epileptic taxidermist who has criminal fantasies about being able to pull of almost any kind of heist with enough attention and planning. then one day while hunting in the woods, one pull of the trigger brings him the ability to put his theory to a real world test (how vague yet intriguing is that summary. am i right?) - the "aura" is that short moment before he goes into an epileptic seizure.

there is a lot that one could talk about with this film, but as readers of this blog know, i often like to focus on what struck me the most about a film, rather than write up a simple and typical "review". and in the case of El Aura what stood out for me was just how incredibly well made the film was. the new york times is quoted on the back of the dvd box, "demonstrates a mastery of the form that is downright scary". i read that after watching the film and i don't think it can be stated any better. bielinsky was a master and it can be seen in every frame of El Aura.

every camera angle, the framing of every shot, the lighting, every edit and pan of the camera. it is all just beautiful and done with a sure hand and a confidence that you rarely see, and even less so on a director that has only made two films.

as i watched this film i got excited because i started to think about bielinsky's next film and the potential career he could have. it is kind of the way i felt about lodge kerrigan after watching Keane - it might just be one film (or in bielinskys case, two films) but you just know in your "film gut" that there is something great there.

unfortunately, what i didn't know until after i watched the movie, was that fabian bielinsky died from a heart attack in 2006 at the, way to young, age of 47. so, while there will never be a "next film" i guess the most i can do is highly recommend the two films he did make, Nine Queens and El Aura.