Every month, I find myself thinking “Holy sweet Jesus-on-a-stick, Synapse Films — what the hell did you dig up now?”
Synapse Films is one of those “rogue cop” video distributors that cult movie aficionados such as myself have come to hold in high regard. Let’s face it, a company that has the balls to release sicko titles like Lucker The Necrophagous and Entrails Of A Virgin, schlockumentaries such as Brutes And Savages and Let Me Die A Woman and still find time to release Triumph Of The Will is a force to be reckoned with indeed.
For July, Synapse took a trip down to South American in order to bring us two Argentinean titles. The first — and without a doubt, the weirdest — is Animalada . Directed by Sergio Bizzio, this oddity centers on wealthy farm owner Alberto (Carlos Roffe), whose marriage to his lovingly devoted and faithful wife (Christina Banegas) suddenly comes to an abrupt halt when Alberto is entranced by young Fanny. Fanny, as it turns out, is a sheep. Eew. And yet, with its less-than-subtle Jerry Springer tones, Animalada presents itself in a surprisingly straight-faced manner. The characters are about as wacky and as dysfunctional as they come, but when you think about it, they’re no less weird than the ones you would find in your average primetime soap opera (as is the plot). Even if the subject of zoophilia upsets you (and it should), the very dark comedy Animalada will still manage to make you laugh about it. At least once.
The second late-July entry from Synapse is Rodrigo Grande’s Rosarigasinos (aka The Gangs From Rosario). Although it features one of the most god-awful pixilated covers ever, the movie is a lot better (please, take my word for it). After being in prison for the last 30 years, Rosario gangsters Tito (Federico Luppi) and Castro (Ulises Dumont) are released back into the world. Thinking that going back to their former lifestyles will be a cinch, the two soon discover that everything has changed. Most of their friends have either moved on and raised families or died. Worse, the money that they had stashed away three decades ago is missing — and nobody wants to tell them the truth. Trials and tribulations abound for Tito and Castro, who deal with them the only way they know how — managing to pick up new cuts and bruises every step of the way on their sweet retribution.
Both Animalada and Rosarigasinos are presented in their original widescreen ratios (1.77:1 and 1.85:1, respectively) with anamorphic enhancement. The image quality on both 2001-made features a few minor scratches and nicks here and there. Overly, the imperfections aren’t all that noticeable, and, as such, are not in the least bit distracting. For the most part, these two movies look great. Each film contains its original Spanish-language soundtrack in 2.0 Dolby Digital Surround with optional English subtitles. The audio presentations are more-than-satisfactory. Animalada is the only one of the two DVDs that has a special feature (which is a trailer).
OK, so neither Animalada or Rosarigasinos are what one might consider to be Synapse Films’s “usual” fare (if such a label is possible). That said, it is very nice to see Synapse expand its catalog of already eclectic tastes to include a few seldom-seen Southern American features like these.
Ah, hell — who am I kidding? These are definitely Synapse Films titles!