From north to south and from east to west. Beasts who don't like foreigners, who don't like those who aren't locals, those who don't speak the same language, who don't have the same religion, who don't have the same political opinions, who don't have the same hair, who have a nice car, who have an ugly car, and so on : these venomous snakes nastily defend their little piece of mental territory against the Other. And it's not just in the mountain countryside, it's everywhere in the world of work, schools, colleges, universities, factories, offices, sports clubs, bars, political meetings, that they poison the lives of honest and peaceful people.
Love life, take good care of your family, do not envy anyone, and enforce the laws since active and incorruptible police and justice are essential for a peaceful society.
With a film of incredible tension from start to finish, thanks to Rodrigo Sorogoyen and his excellent Spanish and French actors for this remarkable allegory.
Reviewed by carloskonrad-5205710 / 10
I had the pleasure of attending Rodrigo Sorogoyen's "As Bestas" premiere at the Cannes Film Festival and my blood is still boiling. I have not seen a film that has made me feel as tense and nervous as this one since Whiplash. Based on the audience's reaction and the ~6 minute standing ovation, I am sure I'm not the only one.
The movie covers the story of a retired french couple who decides to move to a rural village in the Galician mountains. Their love for the village and enthusiasm is however met by the abusive and antagonistic oppression of a local family who has been living there their whole life. The two brothers, played flawlessly by Luis Zahera and Diego Anido, are offended by the "frenchie's" higher intellectuality and devote their time to make the couple's life a living hell.
Spanish cinema once again proves its extent and foundation with this perfectly executed, brilliantly written, and graciously acted piece of work. A must watch.
Reviewed by frankde-jong8 / 10
Treating a conflict the male and the female way
When I read the announcement for "Las Bestias", the first thing I thought was "This is a kind of remake of "Strawdogs" (1971, Sam Peckinpah)". And it was, mostly in the first confrontation in the bar at the beginning of the movie.
Both "Strawdogs" and "Las Bestias" are about the difference between the big city and the countryside. The sympathy of the film is however not with the countryside, as in films such as "Sunrise" (1927, Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau) and "Crisis" (1946, Ingmar Bergman). On the contrary, the characters from the countryside are a rather awkward combination of narrow mindedness, distrust, jealousy, xenophobia and aggression. As far as xenpphobia is concerned, in "Las Bestias" Antoine (Denis Ménochet) always remains "The Frenchman" for the locals, as if he doesn't have a surname.
There are however also differences between the two films.
The hatred against David Sumner (Dustin Hoffman) in "Strawdogs" is purely motivated by the fact that he is smarter and more cosmopolitan the the locals. In "Las Bestias" however there is a real conflict of interests between Antoine and the locals. Antoine is the cosmopolitan man who retires to the countryside at a certain age. He cannot imagine that there are people who want to take the city-country journey in the opposite direction, and certainly does not want to take their interests into account. In this respect he is no less stubborn than his assailants, and maybe there is some grain of truth in their suspicion that he feels himself superior to them.
The biggest difference between "Strawdogs" and "Las Bestias" is however the role of the wifes.
In "Strawdogs" she is an escalating factor. She is the object of the conflict, and not involuntarily so. Deep inside she finds the English constructin workers much tougher and more exciting than her own husband.
In "Las Bestias" the wife is a moderating factor. She warns her husband and in the second half of the film she treats the conflict in a different way. Maybe not less stubborn but certainly causing less agitation.
One could interpret the film in a feminist way, the message being that women are better in handling conflicts than men. I didn't interpret the film that way. Women certainly handle conflicts in a different way than men do, but the behaviour of the wife in the second half of this film must first of all be interpreted as the grieving of someone who has lost the love of her life. For grieving taking on a very different form, and also for prove that women do not always de-escalate, one can look at "Three billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri" (2017, Martin MacDonagh).