I saw A PLACE WITHOUT LIMITS (1978, Arturo Ripstein, A+) in late August. I like it very much. One of the things I like about it is the characters. All characters here are complex and seem to be in gray shade—no black and white characters. Many characters have both good and bad sides in them. A corrupt politician might be evil in a way, but he is still more tolerant towards homosexuality than some moral characters in this film.
A PLACE WITHOUT LIMITS might be called a feel-bad movie, but its feel-bad power is not as strong as HEREMIAS (2006, Lav Diaz, A++++++), which I just saw last night. HEREMIAS might be one of the films which make me feel the worst after seeing it. It seems to suck the power of life out of me. Somehow this film makes me feel as if the world is pure hell. I guess its effect on me is caused partly by its refusal to show or confirm the evil event. There’s some evil event which might or might not happen after the film ends. The viewer never knows if it happens or not. Maybe it depends on the faith of each viewer. If the viewer believe in some divine power, maybe that viewer can imagine that the evil event will not take place. But I don’t think I have that kind of faith.
Some feel-bad movies show the feel-bad events rather straightforwardly, such as A PLACE WITHOUT LIMITS, TO BE TWENTY, and DREAMS (an Iraqi film). But now I found that by not showing the feel-bad event, HEREMIAS is the most powerful. If the feel-bad event exists, it only exists in the mind of the viewer. But that’s the worst. It’s much worse than seeing it pictured in films.