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The Corpse of Anna Fritz

The Corpse of Anna Fritz
The Corpse of Anna Fritz

Format: Cinema

Seen at LFF 2015

Director: Hèctor Hernández Vicens

Writers: Hèctor Hernández Vicens, Isaac P Creus

Cast: Alba Ribas, Cristian Valencia, Bernat Saumell

Original title: El cadáver de Anna Fritz

Spain 2015

76 mins

When the body of a young film star turns up at the hospital where Pau works, he can’t resist sending an illicit photo to two of his friends, Javi and Ivan, who turn up, booze and coke in hand, ready to party. Once in the morgue, conversation soon turns to…(well, there’s no way to put this politely) nailing the celebrity cadaver. The forceful Ivan takes the lead, and Pau, as ever, follows. But mid coitus, Anna’s eyes open. She’s alive! And they’re all in big trouble. Unless…

Hèctor Hernández Vicens’s nasty little thriller largely plays out, after its moment of awakening, along familiar lines. The three men fall out and fight, the immobile Anna tries desperately to stay alive, plans are made, escapes are attempted, everything goes horribly wrong – it’s all pretty tense and effective and well achieved. What separates the film from the flock, and may well damn it, is the sheer unpleasantness of its premise, and its lead characters.

For much of the film’s lean 76 minutes, we are exclusively in the company of three of the most repellent douchebags cinema has to offer. Whilst Vicenz is relatively restrained on the graphic sex and violence front, he lets their bros-before-hoes macho arseholery run wild and free; when, for example, Javi raises an objection to violating a dead woman, Ivan counters ‘just pretend she’s drunk’ – a line which sent cold ripples around the cinema I was in. I suspect the film may generate more walk-outs from their dialogue in the first twenty minutes than anything thereafter. Anna’s revival makes the film more bearable by, at long last, providing us with a single character that you wouldn’t like to get hit by a bus. She is gradually revealed to be crafty and resourceful, but a massive question mark hangs over the sexual politics. There’s a weird through-the-rabbit-hole morality on display, where Javi is better than the others because he didn’t fuck a corpse, and Pau is better than Ivan, because, with the kissing and hair stroking, he’s a more considerate, romantic corpse fucker.

Possibly not the best choice as a date movie.

This review is part of our LFF 2015 coverage.

Mark Stafford

Watch the trailer: