Review 'Besos Negros': The Paranormal and the Unusual from New Perspectives in Colombian Cinema
Film Selection FICCALI
Another film from the selection of the Cali International Film Festival that explores new themes and genres (like 'Las buenas costumbres') is 'Besos Negros,' a pair of stories connected by the paranormal and unconventional spiritual quests.
Breaking away from categorizations, Alejandro Naranjo, the director of the documentary 'La Selva Inflada,' ventures into fiction with this feature film that, at times, plays with experimental elements.
Witchcraft, exorcism, Satanism, manifestation, astrology, Wicca, Scientology, Luciferism, Luciferianism – all are mechanisms (movements or religions) used to seek some form of spiritual balance. This film, with its peculiar themes and characters, reaffirms the human need to feel connected to an intangible force or energy that gives meaning to life.
The first subject of observation in this feature film is known to the loyal followers of "El Cartel Paranormal," a radio show that dedicates three hours, five days a week, to discussing mysteries and strangeness of the universe and has been ongoing for 19 years. This subject is Archbishop Andrés Tirado, a frequent collaborator on the show when discussing topics related to demons and spiritual attacks. Through the documentary, we discover that he is the founder of a new church called the International Congregation of Independent Catholics, attended by people who identify with Catholic traditions but not Roman ones, and where objects for protection against evil attacks, whether human or from unknown forces, are accepted and sold. Tirado is also a famous exorcist in Latin America. The film portrays other aspects of his daily life beyond his church, such as his family.
Through him, we are introduced to another protagonist of the story, Gladys, who has battled the malevolent due to her ex-husband practicing black magic, and is about to undergo a second exorcism. She and her family are convinced of the existence of this type of spiritual evil; they have seen and experienced things that only they can testify to, and they find in this archbishop the help they need, which goes beyond science and reason.
In parallel, we meet the young couple Edgar and Rick, who proclaim themselves followers of Satanism and are on the verge of getting married. Their daily lives have the additional ingredient of preparing for a ritual of dedication to Lucifer.
The purposes of this unusual film seem to be aimed at showing that, despite being from diametrically opposed perspectives and employing unconventional methods, these three characters dedicate a significant part of their lives to the pursuit of spiritual peace.
Alejandro Naranjo narrates the film at the intersection of documentary, fiction, and experimental, perhaps highlighting that there are things in this world that surpass reality and that there is a hidden world believed in and professed not only by older generations. The use of black and white is not very clear; it may serve more to protect the identity and real spaces of the protagonists than for the narrative and stylistic purposes of the film itself.
Just as it happened with 'Las buenas costumbres,' beyond how successful this proposal may be, the truth is that Colombian cinema is discovering stories far from the ordinary and is joining the films in the DocCo distributor's catalog designed to provoke and encourage the elimination of prejudices.
- Director: Alejandro Naranjo
- Screenplay: Alejandro Naranjo, Omar Razzak
- Duration: 70 minutes
- Genre: Hybrid
- Produced by: Alejandro Naranjo, Francisco Schimitt, Rodrigo Dimaté
- Cast: Gladys Rodríguez, Andrés Tirado, Rick Nekro, Edgar Kerval
- Sound: Emilio García Rivas
- Editing: Omar Razzak
- Music: Gonzalo Maceira Hermida, Iván Blanco, Alejandro Alonso Gayoso, Andrés Martínez Crobo
- Cinematography: Alejandro Naranjo
- Countries: Colombia, Spain
- Year: 2023
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