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WEIRDO FLICKS: 'Arrebato' (aka 'Rapture')

by Eli Kroes

You might not be familiar with the term 'Z-Movie,' but if you grew up in the 90's, chances are you've seen one. They're the beyond-low-budget monstrosities that teased you from the walls of the mom-and-pop video store. Usually, the films themselves could never live up to the pictures on the videotape boxes (because this was way before your fancy 'Digital Video Discs' and 'Blu-Rays') but occasionally you'd find something truly unique. 'WEIRDO FLICKS' will clue you into some movies which 'unique' doesn't even begin to describe...

'Arrebato' (aka 'Rapture') - 1980, Directed by Ivn Zulueta

Here's an odd little film from Spain. Despite looking like it had a budget of maybe $200, this is actually a very well-written and acted movie, with some neat ideas about cinema.

The plot concerns a horror movie director and his heroin-addicted girlfriend/leading lady. While in the process of directing one of his many budget flicks, he meets a strange young man who also makes movies, but of an entirely different kind. This young man fancies himself 'in touch' with the world's various rhythms, and he is trying to translate that to film. Most of the story is told through flashback (by way of a long, recorded message from the young man to the director) and kind of jumps between past and present.

Basically, the young man has become obsessed with filming himself sleeping, because every so often a 'red frame' will appear on his film roll. He seems to believe that these instances are very significant, and starts collecting data, which he relays to the horror director.

While this is going on, we also see the director and his girlfriend spinning out of control into drug addiction. The film has some interesting thoughts on drug use, summed up by the main character's insistence that 'heroin is like anything else if you don't use it too much.' We see the truth AND wrongness of this statement in his girlfriend's continuing addiction.

The young man also uses heroin but seems to have control over his use. Things get gradually stranger, but the overall idea seems to be about filmmakers and their quest to truly 'put themselves' on film.

Like I said, there aren't many flashy effects, and the mood is fairly subdued throughout, but if you're interested in cinema as art, this is a strange little gem (if you can find it.)

It has been uploaded in its entirety to YouTube, but alas, without subtitles:

VHS photo by Toby Hudson.