Magical GirlDirector: Carlos Vermut
Spain | Spanish
Subtitles: Arabic, English
Carlos Vermut’s deliriously imaginative film is divided into three chapters—World, Death and Flesh—that signal a work of heady depth and scope. While discovering the story’s intricacies is part of the pleasure, the basic story involves a young Japanophile named Alicia who is suffering from leukemia. She loves the anime character Magical Girl and dreams of owning a special dress worn by her and available at a hefty cost.
Her father Luis is suffering financially and desperate to find a way to make her wish come true. Serving as the catalyst for his plan is a disturbed married woman named Barbara who has a mysterious past and some rather dark predilections. As Luis resorts to blackmailing Barbara in order to secure his daughter’s happiness, she proves to have a secret weapon of her own.
Delightfully exploding genres, Magical Girl is at once a heartbreaking tale of grief, a tense thriller and a deeply unsettling film noir. Watching the characters debase, deceive and double cross one another makes for an exhilarating viewing experience rich with surprise. Though the only magic tricks in this ingenious work happen at the beginning and end of the film, there is a great deal of directorial sleight of hand throughout.