News from the Locarno Festival

Nightmares in a Wood

Nightmares in a Wood



One of the most distinctive voices in contemporary cinema, 28-year-old Raya Martin has assembled an already impressive and protean body of work. With this arcane tale of a young girl’s fantasy to escape a life she feels trapped in, the restless pioneer from the Philippines audaciously explores the subconscious, and the nightmares, of his people.

How to Disappear Completely is an acrobatic achievement, lucidly marrying breathtaking beauty and disturbing visions. Martin’s agile articulation of a profound concern for his country’s legacy of political violence with other areas of personal interest, goes a step further: after resurrecting the shadows from a bloody colonial past, the admitted fan of Carpenter and Craven delivers here a genuine ghost story and slyly plays with the codes of horror cinema.

The coming-of-age reverie thus takes a dark turn, as its characters are sucked into nocturnal landscapes, the realm of magic and unbridled savagery. A haunting soundtrack and sharp editing choices highlight an internal boiling and even an obsession for the punishment of crimes, especially the most unforgivable ones: those committed on children, shattering their hopes for a better future.

Aurélie Godet

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