Festival du Nouveau Cinéma 2021: Our Review of ‘Esqui (Ski)’

Posted in Festival Coverage, Movies by - October 19, 2021
Festival du Nouveau Cinéma 2021: Our Review of ‘Esqui (Ski)’

I can’t say ‘all’. So I’ll strike a bargain and say that many of my readers think that white privilege ends north of the Rio Grande. Unfortunately, that isn’t true, and viewers can see that privilege’s effects in Esqui (Ski). That’s the title of an experimental documentary capturing the townsfolk. They working within industries that support the ski town of Bariloche, Argentina.

Esqui then sidetracks into different story threads, if you call them that. During one scene, it follows one of those workers into one of Bariloche’s ski resorts. And then several minutes later, it dresses someone up and gives them big red lights for eyes. It explains that that costume represents different ethnic and generational ghosts haunting the mountains.

Esqui toys with its viewers, dangling any sense of intention before immediately yanking those aspects away. Many of the ghost scenes feel disrespectful to the actual people who died in the mountains. And then it switches away to a school of young skiers. It’s like each scene erases the meaning that the previous ones are supposed to be representing.

The film has its share of interviews. At the risk of sounding conventional, at least those scenes ground the film into something human. And there’s a twist to these interviews mostly of local skiers who know the mountains more than visitors can. They also have a matter of fact approach even to the tragedy around them, which is the only thing that piques curiosity.

But other scenes involving interview subjects end up breaking the fourth wall in ways that seem too silly. There’s even one scene where the director plays a voice message of someone praising the film’s rough cut. Sure, the person leaving a message eventually gives the director notes, but everything preceding that seem worthy of eye rolls.

Catch Esqui is FNC’s digital platform. Click the following link.

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While Paolo Kagaoan is not taking long walks in shrubbed areas, he occasionally watches movies and write about them. His credentials are as follows: he has a double major in English and Art History. This means that, for example, he will gush at the art direction in the Amityville house and will want to live there, which is a terrible idea because that house has ghosts. Follow him @paolokagaoan on Instagram but not while you're working.
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