New SIFF Review: Finisterrae

Proceeding by dream logic across the Spanish countryside on an old pilgrimage route, Finisterrae features two ghosts--figures wearing white bed sheets with eyeholes--who could be refugees from a Beckett play. The two deceased brothers are deadpan clowns, not ghouls, and they certainly haven't much to say. (Director Sergio Caballero added the dialogue later, to suit the images.) Encountering a herd of tame deer in the snow, the shorter ghost serenades them with a stick flute...

"I've made friends," he says, but the taller ghost insists they keep marching back toward the mortal realm, where they'll be ghosts no longer. (The taller ghost sometimes rides a horse, which makes it easier for him to insist on slogging forward.) They wander through a forest of trees adorned with human ears, encounter a Wagnerian tour guide of sorts, and bow to an owl perched along the road. Theirs is a picaresque in limbo, only it's more earthy than ethereal. As the movie wears on in tedious, absurdist fashion, their ghost sheets become muddier and muddier. You could mistake them for Afghan women in chadors. In some cinema tests of patience, you think, "Hurry up and die already!" Here, it's more like, "Hurry up and live!" Finisterrae's 80 minutes pass like an endless purgatory. BRIAN MILLER (Harvard Exit: 9:15 p.m. Tues., May 31; and 9 p.m. Sat., June 5.)

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