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The Wonderful and Wicked Wild Tales

A savage sextet of stories


Wild Tales (Spanish: Relatos Salvajes) is one of my favorite films of 2014, but what's a year between friends? After a brief stopover at the Academy Awards where it was nominated for the Best Foreign Film Oscar, this Argentine-Spanish production is now being widely distributed in U.S. theaters and will hit the big screen at The Flicks on Friday, April 17. Lucky you.

Wild Tales is a savage and sometimes sexy sextet of stories: No. 1 finds a planeload of passengers who realize they're all connected to one mysterious musician; No. 2 is a waitress's revenge on a particular customer; No. 3 is a road-rage comedy that is a bit like an R-rated Road Runner cartoon; No. 4 involves a custody battle, a birthday cake and a bomb; No. 5 is the intersection of an accident victim, a wealthy driver trying to buy his way out the accident and a prosecutor who sees through the driver's scheme; and No. 6 invites us to a wedding gone wrong. Each of Wild Tales' stories vary in style but build in intensity; and unlike so-called "hyperlink films"—such as Crash, Babe or Cloud Atlas—writer/director Damian Szifron wisely opted not to force his six separate elements of Wild Tales together. Yet these jigsaw puzzle pieces of vice, violence and vengeance fit together well.

I was fortunate to see Wild Tales' North American premiere at the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival where it was an audience favorite. It won acclaim at the Cannes and San Sebastian film festivals as well, and has since become the biggest box-office champ in Argentine history.

Wild Tales has faced some recent controversy, too. One of its twisted stories—the one which takes place aboard a plane—has reminded European filmgoers of the March 24 crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps, but Wild Tales was completed more than a year prior to the Germanwings tragedy and the connection is unfair.

Ultimately, Wild Tales stirs up strong emotions. The audience I shared it with shrieked at some of the more deliciously outrageous scenes and when the lights came up at the end of the film, the cheers were even louder than the screams. I can't think of another film that has inspired such mature delight in some time.

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Wild Tales

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Director: Damián Szifron

Producer: Hugo Sigman, Pedro Almodóvar, Agustín Almodóvar, Esther García, Matías Mosteirín, Pola Zito and Leticia Cristi

Cast: Ricardo Darín, Oscar Martinez, Leonardo Sbaraglia, Erica Rivas, Rita Cortese, Julieta Zylberberg, Darío Grandinetti, Walter Donado, Maria Marull, Nancy Dupláa, María Onetto, Mónica Villa, César Bordón and Diego Gentile