HALL OF FAME: FILE #0062: 13 TZAMETI (2005)


Written & Directed By: Gela Babluani
Cinematography By: Tariel Meliava
Editor: Noemie Moreau 

Cast: George Babluani, Aurelien Recoing, Pascal Bongard, Vania Vilers 

Sebastian, a young man, has decided to follow instructions intended for someone else, without knowing where they will take him. Something else he does not know is that Gerard Dorez, a cop on a knife-edge, is tailing him. When he reaches his destination, Sebastian falls into a degenerate, clandestine world of mental chaos behind closed doors in which men gamble on the lives of others men.

For me the discovery of this film was a revelation. It feels like I was late to the party when it comes to this film. What feel’s like a modern classic at least in my book. Which like all great films was remade even with the original Director making it. It was a grand disappointment. Which was similarly the case with the movie THE VANISHING how great the original was in it’s original language and inception. Then it got remade in America in English by the same director and the results were not as magical. It might be because American cinema demands a few things. If you have a certain budget or are funded by a major movie studio. Where as foreign films seem to be able to be whatever they want to be content wise. As they are allowed to be more sad and indulgent if they so choose.

This film is stunning. The choice of black and white film over color makes the film seem timeless but also makes the film feel more down and dirty, gritty. It could take place in any decade.

The jazz score makes everything seem deeper and more emotional. I knew a little about this movie going in. The trailer tells you pretty much. What it is about though I believe if they kept the first part of the trailer and dumped the second half. Leaving it more ambiguous. Once you see the film it would be more shocking when you see the film.

As this is a film that is best to go into blind. Learning about the story as the character does, little by little and because of this. I will not say too much about the plot. So you can experience everything for the first time and let the film slowly have it’s way with you and your thoughts always feeling like you are on the edge of a cliffhanger.

This is more of a masculine movie. Aggressive but wanting to have a sensitivity yet is unrelenting most of the time.

The lead George Babluani totally sells the film, but his character who is constantly on the brink of madness once this all starts or may have already gone mad and is doing his best to hold it together.

While watching this film I was struck by how much this film reminded me of David Fincher’s movie THE GAME. Which this would make a great double feature with. The dark subject matter and mood plus the cinematography certainly is in line with the works of David Fincher and even early Christopher Nolan. When the used to work on a much smaller scale but still made the film feel epic.

The difference, tension we know the Rules of most films but being that we don’t know most foreign stars came the anything can happen aspect. It’s usually a horror movie rule where stars don’t usually die until the end or near the end of horror films of at all. If they are the star but why horror films cast unknowns usually. As it builds ambiguity anyone can perish at anytime. It keeps the film and action lively. Which this film revels in.

As we wonder who will survive the tension practically becomes deafening. It keeps the audience on the edge of their seats most of the film. This film affected me Physically. I had a bad headache once this Film was over. It’s pacing is magnificent. It’s tension obviously strangling. (Which makes the film worth it) This film is a wonder. Run out and buy this Movie it’s Worth it.

The dvd comes with a short film that is similar in theme but is a comedy. That is as entertaining as it is wrong. Though stay far away from the American remake that keeps the sensationalism but has none of the style, skill or heart.

Grade: A+

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