September 21, 2021


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‘Komala’ review: When Dad is the bad guy with the gun

3 min read

A thread of toxic male lies, deception, theft, abandonment and violence connects scattered pieces to director Gian Cassini’s “Komalar” family roster. Investigating the life of a Hitman father killed in 2010, this personal investigation has little to do with the prospect of analyzing Mexico’s criminal syndicate and a broader picture of the social inequality lurking in the background. But it is the use of a silently captivating documentary form that transmits problems seemingly from one generation to another, making children fatherless and often persuading them to repeat the mistakes of the missing person.

Known to some as “El Jimmy”, James Oleg Cassini Monarez was shot dead by police in what appeared to be a boyfriend’s tip. Although his son has not been able to meet that “reprimanding woman”, he cannot blame her for the betrayal, as Jimmy’s pattern seems to have been used as abuse and loneliness. When Xian was a child, his own mother separated from the man. Although he still doesn’t like to believe the worst about her, he laughs ridiculously when asked if he provided any financial support after their split. In fact, Xian and the other children in the family were sometimes left to friends or relatives because their unmarried mothers were busy working tirelessly to take care of them.

Xian resumed a long-distance relationship with his father at the age of 14, making annual visits to Tijuana that closed six years later (because it was not disclosed here until late). Until then he didn’t know he had siblings. We meet half-sister Nanette, who grew up mostly in the United States but like Jimmy, we only get glimpses of old home movies or photos of honest brother Tony, whose story all clearly echoed his father’s – although at the age of 42 the gunfight ended instead of 25 .

Flying across the country to talk about surviving relationships, Xian will be somewhat surprised to see an incomplete glimpse of that last life from his former uncle Ankar Decker (who gives vague এবং and only স্প clear socio-political insights here) and Grandma Mavis. Less helpful, though enlightened, is her ex-husband Gustavo, a teenage Cuban revolutionary who became a former CIA employee. Sidesteping questions about his own past behavior while showing the arsenal of the house, if he survives, if there is no role model – but then he also seems to have taken shape by abandoning childhood.

The emphasis here is on the effect of the absent and / or degrading personality on the criminal act (although the Cassini men seem to have participated quite differently) on Keith and his relatives. Xian manages quite a bit on camera without pushing “Komala” into the world of vanity-projects, neglecting to focus on his own adult life blood connections and disappearances after their hidden backstory.

Named after the fictional city of the Mexican literary classic “Pedro Paramo”, the film sometimes draws a bit, but mostly combines interviews and a mix of different archival materials with a first-person search. Avoid any confusing stylistic flashes in visual presentations or musical scoring, low key packaging elements, which are not too much trouble to smooth despite the existence of some dead person here despite the existence of Lurid.

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