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EL PROFUGO / THE INTRUDER (2020, ARG) Movie review, plot, trailer

Ines (Erica Rivas who we still remember best as the brides from Szifron’s “Wild Stories”) has a rather unusual job. She lends her voice or synchronizes some obscure foreign films. The voice is her main tool because she sings along the way in the choir, and after a traumatic holiday event with a new partner, it is as if something strange is about to start happening with her voice. “El profugo” or “The Intruder” was one of those weird and somewhat surreal psychological thrillers / dramas more than horror, and this film premiered in Venice’s competition program.

After returning from vacation, Ines no longer seems to be the same person. She will become addicted to drugs, and more as if she will not be able to do her job because it will constantly seem to her that some electromagnetic interference is producing sounds that destroy her voice. Those strange sounds that she seems to hear will disturb her when synchronizing, but also while singing with the choir, and apart from the sounds, she seems to be the only one to start seeing some people. When the mysterious old woman she met in the studio suggests that there is an intruder in it, Ines seems to be pushed over the edge, and all this will be followed by the unexpected arrival of her mother (Cecilia Roth) and a romance with a bizarre young guy who trying to tune the organ in the concert hall (Nahuel Pérez Biscayart).

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From the beginning to the end, “El profugo” seems a bit bizarre, a film in which a lot of things are based on creating a feeling of discomfort, but also a film spiced with a bit of twisted humor. It all seems kind of absurd, more and more as time goes on, and the final catharsis will come in a climactic finale. It could also be described on “El profugo” as one of those films that works best on a symbolic level because Inessa’s condition with voice and strange sounds due to shock after an accident on vacation is perhaps a metaphor for her mental decline. The boundaries between reality, fiction and its paranoia will begin to blur over time. In time, it will become less and less clear to us what reality is and what its fantasy is. Who is real here and who is the fruit of her imagination, and in the end this strange film was also an Argentine Oscar nominee, but failed to enter the circle of nominees.

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