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The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

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    Staller Silver Screen

    Setting, costume, and language are very important to the visual and non-visual meanings to be communicated. Under the direction of Jaoquin Oristrell, Unconscious is a fun success not for the prudish. In 1913 Barcelona, Alma’s husband Leon is missing, and to find him, she enlists her brother-in-law Salvador for help. The characters are well obsessed with Dr. Sigmund Freud’s theories, and thus desire, sex, repression, secrets, and surfacing truth are its own characters.

    Besides the story’s unique progression, it is well complimented by the editing. Beginning with pulled back stage curtains, a picture frame, and newsreel like footage (later using the iris for close-ups and transitions along with fading and blank screens), it keeps your attention in wondering what’s next. Dr. Sigmund Freud was a man that looked deep within himself to discover who and why he was; he became his own guinea pig. To simplify, he concluded that all actions and thoughts are the result of society’s repression of our animal instincts, specifically our sexual instincts. Only when we reveal our unconscious shall we be free, this is accomplished through intense sessions of psychoanalysis.

    The message delivered by Unconscious to the audience is we should never take advice from a doctor with his own issues. The more Leon tried to find himself, the worse his life became. When he could no longer handle the secrets he hid, the only option is by murdering the one who put him on his darkened path. Salvador, on the other hand, is in a different situation. Known for his lack of emotion, he slowly lets loose (except when hypnotized) as the search for Leon heightens and his time with Alma lengthens. Though Alma is the one character that has a consistent personality and harbors nothing, she does have one habit reflecting her anxiety and relationship with her father: hiccups. Salvador’s wife, Olivia (while under the psychoanalytic care of Leon), discovers her desires and provides the eventual catalyst that allows Salvador to be with Alma.

    Dr. Freud’s theories are the center of these character’s stories, but once the personal consciousness is revealed, there is no guarantee of a happy ending for all. What grabbed every member of the audience’s attention was the humor. It was one crazy antic or surprise after another. Though supposed to be set in a relatable reality, there are moments that remind you that it is only a movie. Whether expressed by the actors or the editor or its inconsistencies, there is just enough time to be pointed out.

    For example, a short time after giving birth, Alma is up and about as if hours in labor did not matter (or even occur). Luis Tosar as Salvador kept the balance between sanity and absolute chaos. Through natural facial expressions he reveals his unconscious thoughts, such a sniffing Alma’s hair when close enough to do so. In keeping with the time, the costumes and props were well chosen and enhanced the visual experience.

    The story of Unconscious is not that appealing, but the way it is narrated is very entertaining. The style of humor was consistent, and unified the audience in laughter as well as mild shock. This film remains brightly colored and light hearted. Despite the psychological element, it plays out more straightforward than originally assumed. Although the ending is long, it wraps up the story well enough.

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