One of the best films at the festival, Juan Pablo González’s “Caballerango” captures spare haunted moments in Milpillas, a rural Mexican village that has been reeling from a series of suicides. A horse vacantly stares in the camera. A woman pulls the skin off chicken legs. Two men have a sprinting contest while a group places bets. People work while the world changes around them. The landscape remains the same.
These scenes have an indefinably eerie quality that stems from González’s choice to make his camera as invisible as possible. He lingers on events longer than most filmmakers, illustrating the passage of time as much as the action in the frame. He interviews people discussing the various losses that have affected them and their community—a son’s suicide, his sister’s miscarriage, his brother’s friends’ deaths—but the focus in “Caballerango” remains productively unstable. The suicides are treated as individual tragedies while also serving as microcosms for the economic deterioration in the area, an avenue that González would rather gesture towards than didactically explore.
González employs a creative rhythmic strategy to communicate his empathy towards the Milpillas community. He conditions his audience to observe the mundane at length,