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Epitafios - The Complete First Season

4.4 out of 5 stars 39 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Epitafios: The Complete First Season (DVD)

The critically-acclaimed suspense drama follows the cat-and-mouse game between a police officer (Julio Chavez) who is looking for a reason to live and a psychotic serial killer (Antonio Birabent) bent on revenge, who has found a reason to kill.

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From Buenos Aires with dread comes Epitafios, a devastating, gag-inducing, and gut-wrenching 13-part miniseries, produced by HBO for Latin America, but was such a sensation it earned a subtitled American broadcast and DVD release. Those creepily compelled by Se7en, or who breathlessly awaited the unmasking of the Carver on Nip/Tuck will be hooked into Epitafos from first corpse to last (the body count is substantial). Things get off to a shocking start with the discovery of the gruesomely dismembered body of a former professor, who five years earlier had taken hostage four students, all of whom died when a rescue attempt went horribly awry. Now, someone is methodically killing those who had a direct and indirect connection with the tragedy. Reluctantly pulled back on to the case is psyche-scarred Renzo (Julio Chavez), the suicidal and self-pitying former cop who blames himself for the students' deaths. He quit the force and is now a cab driver. His old friend on the force, the grizzled Benitez (Lito Cruz), recruits him to help when two tombstones bearing their names are found at the crime scene. Sharing Renzo's tombstone is the name of beautiful psychologist Laura Santini (Paolo Krum), who was treating the professor when he flipped out, and with whom Renzo, her patient, had fallen in love.

It gets creepier. Much creepier. In advance of each murder, the killer sends the police fiendishly enigmatic tombstone epitaphs (hence the title), among them: "Here lies he who never should have trusted his best friend" and "Here lies he who turned deception into a game." He also seems to be everywhere and to be able to anticipate his pursuers' every move. He leaves an ominous message for Laura on her child's balloon before she picks him up at school. He ignites the outlines of body drawings on the street where one of his victims will be passing. The despair in Epitafios is palpable. It makes Se7en look like the feel-good movie of the century. It also thinks nothing of pulling the rug out from under viewers expecting major characters to survive the miniseries, or introducing others, such as homicide investigator Marina (Ceclia Roth), with very heavy emotional baggage of their own. But you won't be able to look away, even when you're terrified of what you'll see next. --Donald Liebenson


Special Features

Featurette: Behind-the-scenes of Epitafios

Product Details

  • Actors: Julio Chávez, Paola Krum, Antonio Birabent, Cecilia Roth, Luis Luque
  • Directors: Alberto Lecchi, Jorge Nisco
  • Writers: Marcelo Slavich, Walter Slavich
  • Producers: Adrián Suar, Diego Andrasnik, Fernando Blanco, Luis Peraza
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Box set, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 5
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: HBO Studios
  • DVD Release Date: August 29, 2006
  • Run Time: 780 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000G1R4TI
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #92,712 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Epitafios - The Complete First Season" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This outstanding miniseries marks HBO's first foray into Latin American TV. It centres around a serial killer who is methodically killing off people connected to a botched hostage rescue at a local Buenos Aires highschool five years earlier. Ex-detective Renzo Marquez (Julio Chavez) was responsible for the disaster in which four 16-year old hostages burnt to death. Someone is now seeking revenge. The story revolves around the retired detective and his ex-lover, the psychiatrist Laura Santini (Paola Krum). Santini had the misfortune of acting as hostage negotiator during the seige. Both are the main targets but the killer delights in a sadistic cat-and-mouse game as he spares them while despatching other victims in increasingly bizarre and gruesome ways, accompanying each with a tombstone carved with a cryptic epitaph outlining their supposed crime, hence the title.

Made in Argentina with an excellent all Spanish-speaking cast, this was originally intended for broadcast only in Latin America. Its popularity and critical acclaim led to its inclusion on the US HBO-Latino channel. Now it is being released on DVD, suitably subtitled for non Spanish-speaking Americans. The miniseries consists of just 13 45-min-long episodes. It is unlike anything you've seen on TV before. It is unremittingly dark. And it is gruesome. In the opening episode, the first victim is dismembered, with his body parts strewn artistically around the house. The violence is almost always off-camera. We are shown the gory after-effects. It is definitely not for the squeamish. The identity of the killer is made known by the third episode but the tension never flags and builds inexorably to a very satisfying if dark climax. There is no happy ending.
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Format: DVD
I was a little hesitant before initially viewing the 13-part Argentinean miniseries import, "Epitafios" (Epitaphs). There had been so much attendant hyperbole that I thought there was no way it could live up to its buzz. I am pleased to say that I couldn't have been more wrong.

Renzo Marquez (Julio Chavez) is an emotionally numb, part-time taxicab driver who left the police force five years earlier. Guilt-ridden and traumatized after a literal misstep on his part led to the horrific deaths of four 16-year-old students taken hostage by a mentally unbalanced professor, Renzo is living a marginal existence--with no interests and few friends, caring only for his wheelchair bound father in his spare time. Renzo is drawn back into the case that ended his fast track career when he is contacted by his former commanding officer, Captain Benitez (Lito Cruz). Upon receiving an anonymous phone call, Benitez is directed to an abandoned house that is the scene of an elaborately staged murder. In the backyard, the police discover two shallow open graves with headstones. The epitaph on one of the headstones contains Benitez's name, and the other has Renzo's name sharing space with that of Laura Santini (Paola Krum), the psychiatrist who had been called in as a consultant on the student hostage case before the whole thing went pear-shaped.

Meting out almost Biblical retributions to anyone directly or indirectly involved in the events leading up to the student deaths, the killer sees himself as an avenging angel delivering postponed justice. He leaves the bodies of his victims displayed with grotesque, almost Grand Guignol, theatricality. The killer also leaves drawings of headstones with cryptically worded epitaphs--clues to the identity of his next victim--at each new murder scene.
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Format: DVD
"Epitafios" is more violent than "The Sopranos," stranger than "Carnivale" and features characters at least as damaged as the "Six Feet Under" undertakers. But for El Norte viewers with savory tastes and strong stomachs to match, "Epitafios" is a seriously cool find. Think "Seven" churned with "Millennium," "The Wire" and a dash of telenova passion.

Driving the narrative is the story's brilliant young psychopath, Bruno (Antonio Birabent). He's an evildoer pulled from the same Jungian well as Hannibal Lecter -- only meaner and better looking. His obsessions include torture as an art form and Bizet's "Carmen." He's kind to corpses and his pet rat. He can't be stopped.

There's one featured murder per episode, with plenty of collateral damage. "Epitafios" specializes in making its audience care about key characters, and then ripping them away. Part of the show's voodoo is its deep reserve of ways to creep out viewers.

Good as it is, "Epitafios" isn't consistently up to first-rate horror/thriller standards -- the writing goes brain-dead here and there; the romance feels like daytime TV; the villain eventually comes off like a gay Terminator. The series' momentum sags in the middle, as the filmmakers struggle with the task of making what is essentially a 13-hour horror film.

Nevermind the quibbling. If you've read this far, you gotta check it out. "Epitafios" comes guaranteed as addictive, creepy as hell and intellectually challenging. It remains true to its grisly aesthetic to the final stop.

Side notes: The Season 1 reference seems optimistic, as Argentine co-producer Pol-ka appears unlikely to revive the series.) As to the audio questions below: Buy with confidence. It's in Spanish. Period. English subtitles. No dubbed version. More than adequate sound and images.
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