The body in decay: a review of Sebastián Hofmann’s Halley
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Mexican filmmaker, Sebastián Hofmann’s recent festival success, Halley, which has played at prestige venues such as Sundance and Rotterdam is a fascinating new contribution to the cinema of the body and illness. Recent publicity has marketed the film as a horror movie, and although there are similarities in theme to zombie films, this is rather an instance of so-called ‘slow’ cinema with long takes, static framings and little in the way of conventional plot devices depicting a man’s body in decay. Protagonist Beto (Alberto Trujillo) works at a city gym, and the film’s story begins with his explanation to the manager, Silvia (Luly Trueba), that he can no longer continue there: he is too sick. Although Silvia presses him a bit on what is wrong, Beto never tells her, and the audience never finds out either. In fact, he is suffering form the decay of his body and, indeed, seems already dead.
The opening shots of the movie are of a glass full of flies, and much later we see Beto removing...