Cine Las Americas 2022: YO Y LAS BESTIAS (ME AND THE BEASTS)

From Venezuela, comes a musical fantasy that pretty a much comes across as an extended musical short. Writer/director Nico Manzano, with Yo Y Las Bestias, has created a visually striking film with very engaging music. However, when it comes to the narrative, that’s where the movie gets rather messy. This is very much an art project that is quite expressive visually and sonically, but the storytelling leaves much to be desired.

Jesus Nunez stars as Andres Bravo, a talented musician and songwriter, who has pretty much had his fill of his current band. After their latest creative disagreement, Andres finally quits and sets out to create his own music on his own terms. Though music is his real passion, Bravo must work a soul-crushing job, in addition to dealing with the turmoil his country is currently facing. However, as artist, Andres is thriving creatively. This mostly thanks to some bizarre beings or “beasts” who serve as Andres’ muses and musical partners.

While I loved the visuals and enjoyed the music in the film, I simply could not get a proper handle on any messages filmmaker Nico Manzano wishes to convey through Yo Y Las Bestias. The basic takeaway is that times are hard in Venezuela, but great art can prevail if the artists can find his muses. And what follows is basically a lengthy music video with snippets of not particularly well-written narrative.

Yet again, it could be a matter of things getting lost in translation on my part. I am somewhat aware of the problems that trouble the people of Venezuela, but I am not at all sure what that has to do with muted, yellow hooded/robed beasts who inspire the protagonist to make good music. Either way, the film is still strangely hypnotic and occasionally mesmerizing, but I definitely wanted a more coherent story to match the aesthetics.

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