Rafael Palacio Illingworth
Life begins, life ends. A title so elliptic that it is reduced to a law of nature, stripping family misfortune of its tragic nature. Death is a private tragedy. How can you capture the horror of its irrationality? Rafael Palacio Illingworth is the director of several comedy dramas including Between Us (2016) and Macho (2009). Here, he signs a feature film that is at once intimate, honest and generous, based on the tragedy that shook his own life. By weaving personal material, gathered over time, into a fictional narrative, he goes beyond a purely autobiographical framework, constantly playing with its codes.
Rafael Palacio Illingworth forges an alter ego, a doppelgänger and a family reflection. The images of radiant, everyday happiness are matched by a fragmented narrative that condenses a descent into hell, revealing pain. Fiction plays a role: that of preserving these images of this happiness. He thus ensures the memories remain intact, instilling them with a sense of grace. The dramatization of his play replaces the muted brutality of real life. Here, the director’s body must withstand. In the face of illness. Against despair. There, his character’s body, a gaucho from the plains of Argentina, self-inflicts the henceforth unbearable violence of a world and consecrates the fictional space as a catharsis.
Intertwining different regimes in three movements, Rafael Palacio Illingworth courageously exposes himself on several levels. The duplication becomes a dialogue. He stages his own family to better reveal the contours of drama as a genre, through a system of dialogue between fiction and the mechanisms of its production: sources of inspiration, musical score, characters and motifs, peaks and climaxes… It is not the evidence of a tragedy that is thus revealed, but the vibrant meeting of art and life.