Birthday Blitz: The Dark Side of the Heart (dir. Eliseo Subiela, 1992)

Day 3, Movie 3:  The Dark Side of the Heart – A Film About Poetry As Poetry

Being recommended a film like The Dark Side of the Heart is exactly why I wanted to do this blogging project. I never would have ever had chosen to watch this very surrealist Argentinian film on my own. (Side  note: I can’t decide to call this a blogathon, a movie watching/blogging marathon, or a blogging project. The inconsistency is bothering me.)

The Dark Side of the Heart centers on Olivero (Dario Grandinetti), a poet in Buenos Aires who wants to find a woman who can levitate. Literally. The film opens with him reciting this poem of sorts to one of his conquests, laying out exactly what he expects from women:

“I don’t give a damn if a woman’s breasts are like magnolias or like figs, if her skins feels like a peach or sandpaper. It’s irrelevant if she wakes up with breath like an aphrodisiac or an insecticide. I’m perfectly willing to put up with a nose that’d win first prize at a carrot show. But on one thing, I am intransigent. On no account whatsoever will I forgive a woman who cannot fly. If she can’t, she’d better forget me.”

When the women he sleeps with fails to meet his desires, he gets rid of them. With the press of a button on his bedside table, they’re gone. How it plays out in the movie

This speech becomes his mantra and part of his search for a passionate romance. He thinks he finds that idealized romance with Ana (Sandra Ballesteros), a high-class hooker.

But she isn’t. Ana acts better without him. Sex to her is just a job.

What I found most intriguing about The Dark Side of the Heart is when segments of the movie transformed into a visual poem. (I suppose all movies, in a way, are that.) From the poet protagonist to the use of poems by Mario Benedetti and others, poetry is the dominate force of this movie.

The Dark Side of the Heart is life with a touch of magical realism as seen through poetry.

This post is part of my Birthday Blitz Marathon.

2 thoughts on “Birthday Blitz: The Dark Side of the Heart (dir. Eliseo Subiela, 1992)”

  1. A truly great film.

    Eliseo Suviela is one of the greatest Argentine directors. However, his movies are not for everyone. Sometimes they are way too surreal :)

    I personally like his old work: Hombre Mirando al Sudeste (Man Facing Southeast)” (1986) and “No te mueras sin Decirme Adonde Vas (Don’t Die without Telling Me Where You Are Going)” (1995)

    If this movie sparked your curiosity on Argentine cinema, here is a good list of Argentine movies:

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