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Magical Girl

Director - Carlos Vermut
Run Time - 127 minutes
Languages - Spanish w/English subtitles
Format - DVD / Digital Streaming
Year - 2014
Genre - Foreign narrative

Educational Interests- Family Relations, Psychology

Institutional DVD Price: $295

One of the breakout hits of Spain's burgeoning low-budget filmmaking scene, Carlos Vermut's debut, Diamond Flash, instantly established the young filmmaker as a deft practitioner of the thriller genre. Vermut's follow-up, Magical Girl, employs a classic noir premise, taking his exploration of the darkest side of human nature to exhilarating new extremes.

Luis (Luis Bermejo) is desperate to fulfill his terminally ill daughter's last wish: to own the prohibitively expensive "Magical Girl Yukiko" dress from her favorite Japanese cartoon. Unemployed, with no prospects, and blinded with grief, Luis turns to extortion when he crosses paths with the beautiful, mentally disturbed Barbara (Barbara Lennie). Her marriage threatened by the blackmail, Barbara reluctantly complies with his scheme, even as it sends her spiralling into a world of danger and degradation. Seeking revenge on Luis, she turns for help to the only person who truly knows how damaged she is: retired math teacher Damian (Jose Sacristan), who has dark secrets of his own. The trio descends into an infernal cycle of deception and double-crosses, in which the struggle between reason and instinct plays out to nerve-jangling effect.

While Magical Girl displays ample influence from the best of Spanish cinema past and present , from Luis Bunuel to Alejandro Amenabar, it also draws inspiration from the hyper-stylization of Japanese manga and the boundary pushing of South Korean genre cinema. Ultimately, however, Vermut's film is a thoroughly original creation, its vicious dance of vengeance and deceit offering a twisted reflection of Spain's fraught contemporary reality. (Synopsis by Diana Sanchez, Toronto Intl. Film Festival)

"A razor-sharp tale of unintended consequences." - Indiewire

"Distinctive, darkly quirky... A spare, austere and thoroughly contemporary noirish social critique constructed on rich emotional foundations, this is a deceptively simple study of the dangerous interaction between money and emotion which feels authentically independent, the sideways slant of its director’s vision continually shifting the viewer out of the comfort zone." - The Hollywood Reporter