Man Facing Southeast
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Man Facing Southeast is Argentine director Eliseo Subiela's 1986 cult classic, a powerfully moving science-fiction parable of a saint-like stranger in an even stranger land our Earth. This critically-acclaimed gem has not been available on DVD or Blu-ray in the United States, until now.
A man named Rantes (Hugo Soto) suddenly appears in a Buenos Aires psychiatric hospital expertly playing theorgan. But who is he this man with no recorded identity? Doctor Denis (Lorenzo Quinteros) dismisses Rantes' claim of being an alien visitor as a case of paranoid delusion. Beatriz (Ine s Vernengo), his only visitor, sees him as an intimate and knowing companion. And the other patients, intrigued by his mysterious intelligence, see him as their only source of hope. Inspiring, mystical, and unforgettable, Man Facing Southeast is one of the great science-fiction films of the 1980s.
Special Features: Booklet with Director's Statement and essay by film historian Nancy J. Membrez, Interviews with: Director Eliseo Subiela, Lead actor Hugo Soto, Director of Photography Ricardo De Angelis
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This is an incredible movie. It forces the viewer to examine all parts of his/her life and begs the questions, who is crazy and who isn't.
In the movie's storyline, the question of course is, who is crazy--the mental patient or the psychiatrist? Both men seem to be equally intelligent and believeable. But the doctor has the upper hand in this situation, unfortunately.
From the opening sequence with the heavy footsteps of the nurse and her shocking news to the famous "blue liquid", this movie is both magical in its innocence and brilliant in its examination of human nature.
The movie also serves as a commentary on mental illness and how even in this day and age, we as the "sane public", feel uncomfortable enough with mental illness to wish it to be suppressed, quieted and hidden. What's sad and surprising about this movie, however, is that the psychiatrist also follows popular opinion and denys the existance of the possibility of what may actually be right in front of him. Instead of being a man of science, instead of being curious, the doctor takes the easy way out. But I guess one can't fault the doctor for being terrified of the unknown, but since the patient seems to offer no reason to fear him, the doctor could have taken another path.
This movie and the topic shown reminds me of a college professor who talked so much about "absolute knowledge". Hitler possessed absolute knowledge about Jewish people and we all know the results of that "knowledge". The psychiatrist also possesses absolute knowledge...he knows Rantes(if I remember the character's name correctly after 10 years) certainly can't be an alien, therefore he must be insane. But there is evidence in the movie to the contrary and the doctor is blind to that evidence. Therefore, the doctor operates on his absolute knowledge that eventually results in death...just like Hitler. Sooner or later, people realize that absolute knowledge exists mainly and only in mathematics...certainly not in human nature.
Hopefully the viewer learns a thing or two from this movie and always views life with an open mind. Minds are like parachutes...both only work when open.