“My name is Angela. They’re going to kill me”
Tesis is a Spanish movie & was the inspiration for the movie 8mm. Made in 1996 it is a critically acclaimed movie yet is not well-known outside of world cinema fans. It’s certainly a film with a message. Director Alejandro Amenabar has made a film about snuff films that makes the viewer question their own morbid curiosity.
Angela (Ana Torrent) is a film student writing her thesis on audio-visual violence. When she asks her professor to find her some violent movies in the universities archives, she finds him dead in the screening room the next day. She then takes the tape he was watching & leaves the screening room. To help her thesis research Ana had befriended Chema (Fele Martinez) a loner with a large collection of violent & pornographic movies. She shows Chema the tape she found in the screening room. Chema not only confirms that it is indeed a snuff film but he recognises the victim as a former student who was an associate of current student Bosco (Eduardo Noriega) Ana & Chema begin to investigate the tape & Bosco & find themselves pulled into the world of a violent snuff films.
Tesis is one of those movies that is almost too clever for its own good. Amenabar was defiantly making a point with Tesis. A point about that “car crash” fascination we all have, exemplified by most of us finding it impossible to drive past a car crash without slowing to take a look. Angela even mirrors this reaction in the movies opening minutes when the train she is travelling has to stop & all the passengers disembark because someone has committed suicide by jumping under the train. Angela is told not to look & just leave the platform but she attempts to go & see what has happened for herself. While Chema is watching the snuff tape Angela refuses to view it, covering her eyes, but after a minute or so she begins to peak through her fingers at the film. Tesis is wonderfully acted by the three leads (Torrent, Noriega & Martinez). The pacing of the movie is excellent, allowing time for character development & building the tension. My only gripe with the movie is that the character of Angela isn’t very likeable.
With Tesis Amenabar has made a wonderfully crafted, intelligent thriller that will keep you guessing right up to the movie’s final moments. Simply a first-rate film that is waiting to be discovered. Highly recommended.