Grimmfest: Forgiveness (2021)

Director: Alex Kahuam

Running Time: 90 Minutes

Starring: Alejandra Toussaint, Alejandra Zaid, Jessica Ortiz, Horacio Castelo, Laura de Ita

Opening in a motel, the camera focuses on three frightened women who've been through evident trauma. Standing over a hog-tied and naked man, the victims intend to right wrongs by executing him together, although their actions result in armed men breaking in to take them captive. This is just the beginning for the women, as they awake in a hospital now mute, deaf, or blind.

Writer-director Alex Kahuam has many ideas, and throws them at the wall as though this will be his last film. Stylistically, the film is separated into mostly-wordless segments following each victim, all appearing to be shot in one-take. There's also different ideas woven into the narrative, as the victims go through their personal hells experiencing dancing, erotica, vampires, and something superheroic.

This tale of women trying to persevere against the patriarchy seemingly aims for 2008's Martyrs, hoping for a dark transcendence of its subject matter which is never achieved. Tension and horrors feel out of reach, as this unfocused tale resembles a dragged-out excuse to watch women suffering. The only transcending is directed at Alejandra Toussaint, Alejandra Zaid, and Jessica Ortiz, whose performances conveying their characters terror right up to the forced epilogue.

Forgiveness previously played at Grimmfest