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Job Interview (Entrevista Laboral)

Experimental to the extreme, this dirty gem from Colombia portrays a young rapper and the impressive urban landscape that surrounds him - from the Rebel with a Cause strand of the 26th Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival


One of the beautiful things about independent cinema is its ability to take everything you know about storytelling and turn it on its head. Filmmaker and musician Carlos Osuna (The Contestant, 2017) continues that tradition with Job Interview, a film that eschews convention in order to paint a compelling picture of the world it presents.

We follow Gabriel (Yeyo Cardoso), a young rapper from the outskirts of Bogota, as he goes about his business with locals, rivals, lovers, and friends. What he seeks, what drives him, are open to interpretation as the camera takes a hands-off approach. Conversations are caught in part, but many exchanges are shown with inaudible dialogue, with just gestures and body language available for us to assess the situation.

Experimental in the extreme, Osuna presents Gabriel as part of a wider landscape, where the graffiti, market stalls, and wandering dogs are as important as the conversations we are only sporadically allowed to hear. This leads to some truly remarkable moments, such as when the camera is perched on the back of a bumpy market cart, following its owner as he interacts with fellow merchants about grievances, debts, girlfriends, and more. The position allows the world around the lens to truly come to life, allowing you to almost touch the environment that feels so immersive.

At the same time, this approach can also cause frustration. The disconnect makes for an occasionally labour-intensive viewing experience, with each scene feeling like a puzzle that, if missed, leaves a big whole in your knowledge. That desire to know more is a testament to the effectiveness of the technique in many ways, but can prove emotionally unsatisfying when confirmation of your suspicions about the plot never arrives.

Cardoso proves to be a captivating lead, drawing your eye in with a mixture of youthful swagger that barely hides his vulnerability. To act in such a non-linear takes a real talent for expression, and the young star is able to tell many pages worth of story in a couple of movements. The authenticity of his co-stars also brings the world to life, with emotions either on display or cleverly disguised depending on the situation, leaving the viewer with the task of anticipating the outcome.

A film with a lot to say and its own way of saying it, Job Interview will be the perfect choice for those who want to see narrative storytelling reconstructed in a way that forces audiences to think. It may not be for everyone, but then again true artistic expression rarely is.

Job Interview has just premiered at Rebel with a Cause strand of the 26th Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival.

By Victoria Luxford - 24-11-2022

London-born Victoria Luxford has been a film critic and broadcaster since 2007, writing about cinema all over the world. Beginning with regional magazines and entertainment websites, she soon built up...

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