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21 Aug 0 Comment

Fear, loneliness and death Amenábar, 20 years of the elegant terror of ‘The Others’


Two decades ago, the terrified gaze of Nicole Kidman, that woman who lived in darkness with her two children, unleashed one of the most elegant horror plots in cinema. On the other side of the camera, a young Alejandro Amenábar, no more than 30 years old, directed Los otros (2001), his first film shot entirely in English. A film with which he would definitely catapult himself on the international scene and that, twenty years after its premiere, has become a classic of the horror genre.

With Los otros, Amenábar once again demonstrated his ability to shape genres as he pleased. A game that he plays neatly, without leaving the margins. “The genre allows you to limit and see how you are going to make the story and it is a very easy way to reach the viewer,” he explained in an interview with Days of Cinema. Of course, once mastered, the genres can be transformed or merged.

The mixture of cinematographic codes is one of the keys to this film. The film begins by placing the viewer in a dark and oppressive environment in which we can only grope, running into laconic glances and unexpected faces that provoke anguish. A disturbing universe in which, chilled, those who remain in the armchair are waiting for the ghosts, without realizing that the plot takes her out of terror, again and again, to delve into the drama, from which she speaks of pain, loneliness and loss.

Thus, with a script that twists and a luxurious set design, Amenábar manages to chart new paths in the genre. He did it then and continues to do so 20 years later, because his work has stood the test of time very well. The story moves and frightens, stirs and causes shocks. A game that is easy to get into – as long as you don’t already know the ending of the film – and that causes it to continue to be so attractive to movie lovers.

Despite having always been pathological fearful, Amenábar has always had a fascination for horror movies. “I liked to play with that feeling, that of fear, that’s why I started there with stories like Thesis”, he told RTVE. The Others is the greatest example of that taste for the darkest genre of all, a careful and well-constructed tour of what fear can really be. With a memorable Nicole Kidman, this woman was the very image of anguish. A soul that wandered through a haunted house, prey to her fears, to the terror caused by the death of her children, illness, the abandonment of a husband she was always waiting for. What was Grace Stewart, her character, afraid of? Maybe life itself.

The one that for her, and for hers, her children, had become a prison. Her participation in the film was the result of a crush, the one that Tom Cruise – her then husband of hers – had with a previous script by Amenábar, Abre los ojos (1997). “When the film was screened at the Sundance festival, someone saw it and thought it might interest Tom Cruise, who saw the film as a vehicle to move through other types of roles and records. From there, our relationship was born and I met Nicole Kidman ”, says the director.

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