Love, Blood, Pain [Magnum Borini, Brazil, 2020]

Love, Blood, Pain is visually arresting, but the film’s construction never allows any real story into its compiled imagery. The film goes through three acts that are meant to be connected but end up being disjointed. The female narrator opens the film with a monologue about her identity and dissatisfaction with the city of Sao Paulo, as a black and white montage of the city plays. Her melancholic tone gives a little emotion to the film, but her speech is abstract and fails to set up the story it wants to tell.


In the second act, a close shot (now in colour) introduces us to a female vampire, blood running from her lips, rejuvenating. After she settles, she picks up her camera and takes pictures of her victim (who is not shown). The longer she takes pictures the less about her we know. We cut back and forth between a hanging Marylin Monroe poster next to an unidentifiable drawing and the woman shooting photos. Nothing in the sequence obviously or implicitly connects with each other. She remains just a sinister woman taking photos.

The abstraction of the storytelling continues to confuse, as our lead meets a young woman whilst out taking photos. They go indoors somewhere (their flirtation barely realised) and become intimate. Their moment together, made up of light touching, no dialogue, and the vampire emitting either vulnerability or deceit – Magnum Borini’s direction makes it hard to tell – places more meaninglessness on the vampire's pursuits since there’s not backstory or emotion to let us in. This interaction also rings hollow because the scene is interspersed with a black and white image of a rattlesnake slithering, as the women touch. Borini is trying to say something, but his (presumed) lack of knowledge of rattlesnakes, and our lack of knowledge about our protagonist mutes his intended message, creating more confusion.


The black and white world returns in the final act and the vampire appears, wandering the streets, seemingly frustrated. It’s hard to understand why she appears this way. Within these final minutes, there’s no insight into her life, and we must guess why she’s frustrated as she smokes on a street corner. By its end, Love, Blood, Pain drips out leaving its viewer feeling drained and lifeless.

 

'Love, Blood, Pain' was a film in consideration for Short Focus Film Festival 2021.

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