Borders between different planes of logic are tenuous. That’s the main premise behind El Nino del Plomo, a movie that also uses every technique in the experimental film toolkit, throws it on the screen, and hopes that something sticks. There’s the brief sequence depicting Santiago reminiscent of Soviet-style cinema. There are intertitles telling the story of two explorers who find the body of the titular sacrificial child. There are dream sequences. The movie snaps out of those dreams to show whose mind they belong from. They belong from a nanny, Scarlett (Daniela Pino) and her ward Mateo (Mateo del Sante).
Scarlett and Mateo retrace the explorers’ steps with nothing but their winter gear on themselves, and most viewers can put two and two together that Mateo has to replace the original sacrificial child, which is something Scarlett hesitates on doing. There’s a lot of scenes here where Scarlett touches rocks and receives messages from the mountains to do what she needs to do. Pino, to her credit, sells these scenes, even if El Nino somewhat exploits her Amerindian heritage. Another thing that adds credit to the movie is that this isn’t the most egregious example of that this fest.
I looked up how long it takes to climb the Andes, the mountain range beside Santiago. It apparently takes two days. Mateo keeps calling what they’re climbing hills, so it should take less than two days to climb whatever hilltop they’re climbing. Supposedly that counters the argument of how he and Scarlett haven’t died faster. The movie leaves this logic behind and instead decides to spend its third act on depicting closeups of snow falling and other dreamy natural phenomena. There are other ways to stretch out a concept for a short into a feature and this isn’t the way.
Watch El Nino del Plomo here.
- Release Date: 10/2021