The Chosen Ones (2015)
Written and directed by David Pablos
Produced by Pablo Cruz, Birgit Kemner, Philippe Gompel, Marta Núñez Puerto, Gael García Bernal, Diego Luna, Julian Levin, Arturo Sampson, Walter Von Borstel
Starring Nancy Talamantes, Óscar Torres, Leidi Gutiérrez, José Santillán Cabuto, Edward Coward, Alicia Quiñonez, Raquel Presa, Susana Perez, Gisela Madrigal, Jorge Calderon
In the flagitious footsteps of his thuggish father (Coward) and brother (Cabuto), a young man (Torres) too compassionate for his family’s racket seduces a pretty local teen (Talamantes) to exploit her in their bagnio, never expecting to fall as hard for her as she’s reciprocated. Both are brutalized for their noncompliance before the reluctant pimp strikes a deal with his father to free his dulcinea from the trull’s trade by procuring a replacement: a simple sylph (Gutiérrez) as gentle and guileless as her predecessor. Pablos works a wonder introducing unknown players with scarcely a prior credit among them, all of whom underplay credibly within punctiliously framed perimeters. Every exact shot’s as carefully composed to maximize gist and effect as its squalid interiors, handsome cast and beautiful coastal Tijuanan landscapes are gorgeously photographed by DP Carolina Costa. Not merely concerned with the turpitude of sexual slavery, the director’s examination of organized criminality in a familial context produces its most intriguing insights by dint of contrast: between the kindly, reticent lover coerced to whoremastery and his cruel yet charismatic brother who counsels him on how to best score his marks, a companionable routine of barbecued dinners intended to lull the prospective prostitutes into a sense of domestic security juxtaposed with her dragooned enslavement shortly thence, the otherwise commonplace family who care for their bawds’ numerous offspring, and the tragic variance of the harrowed couple’s relationship before and after her subjection to a grueling daily grind of intercourse. In an especially poignant sequence, a static series of close-ups displaying Talamantes’ shaken visage alternate with close medium shots of her unsightly clients to the thumping, vociferous clamor of their coital engagements, stressing the emotional and physical afflictions sustained by her unwilling fille de joie without the diversion of potentially titillating visuals. Not merely exposing how betrayal, prolonged acokoinonia and sexual trauma crushes love to dust, Pablos graphically relates how forced prostitution dretches worst anyone involved who clings to their humanity.
The Chosen Ones (2015)