Halley

(Mexico, Netherlands, 2013, 83 mins, HDCAM)
Director:
Cast Alberto Trujillo, Lourdes Trueba, Hugo Albores
PRODS Julio Chavezmontes, Jaime Romandía
SCR Sebastián Hofmann, Julio Chavezmontes
CAM Matías Penachino
ED Sebastián Hofmann
MUS Gustavo Mauricio, Hernandez Dávila
PROD DES Gabriela Garciandía
PROD CO Piano / Mantarraya Producciones
Classification:

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Introverted and taciturn, the emaciated Beto lurches about like a zombie, casting vacant stares at the hale and hearty customers who frequent the 24-hour gym where he works as a security guard. It seems that he can no longer mask the fact he’s dead and rapidly decomposing, no matter how much time he spends meticulously powdering himself, mainlining embalming fluid and methodically picking maggots from his flesh. Intent on cutting all ties with society, he spends one last week mixing with supposedly normal people, attending mass—where he’s laughably lectured on the virtues of suffering—and heading out on an exceptionally awkward date.

Sebastián Hofmann’s melancholic, meditative body-horror movie builds to a gruesome climax (graphically detailing the perils of self-abuse when the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak) before ceding to a haunting denouement. Beto’s elaborate maintenance rituals are mesmerizing to behold, illustrating that it’s only the routine of being alive that’s keeping him going. And while Hofmann’s commentary on the callousness of society is pointed—everyone’s eager to turn a blind eye to Beto’s condition or suggest that he’s just lonely—it’s tempered by instances of gallows humour, including a morbidly amusing encounter with a forlorn morgue attendant.

"A disturbingly stylish and surrealistic drama, [Halley boasts a] compelling story, impressive performances and a strange sense of the grotesque."—Mark Adams, Screen

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