Shocking, disconcerting and twisted are only but a few adjectives that come to mind after watching this Chilean movie directed by Pablo Larrain (Tony Manero, No).
And yet, I am grateful to have been given the opportunity to watch it, for it not only sheds light on a subject rarely touched by film, but it handles it with such disturbing ambiguity all throughout that it challenges you on a number of levels. And I love when that happens.
The Club narrates the story of a nun and four retired Catholic priests living in a small seaside resort. Their life runs like clockwork in a liturgy of meals, prayers and penitence, and a very limited amount of time when they can freely wonder about town.
Their predictable living away from temptation is suddenly disrupted by the arrival on a new cleric and a mentally troubled young man who forces the group to face their fears and their disturbing past.
A Vatican emissary comes to investigate their reactions to a shocking development and results in a sea of uncertainty with morbid and grotesque humour, where no one is sinless.
Beautifully directed, The Club showcases outstanding performances and signature photography throughout the film. Awarded the Jury Grand Prix at the 65th Berlin International Film Festival, The Club was selected as the Chilean entry for Best Foreign Language Film at this year’s Academy Awards. Sadly, it didn’t make the nomination, though.
Painful, often repugnant and hard to follow, The Club is a challenging watch that plays with your mind and the ‘socially acceptable’ conventions. However, if you’re prepared to come to terms with an array of horrendously tough subjects to digest and stomach churning scenes, I can’t but recommend this film.
The Club is out in UK cinemas now. Watch the trailer here
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