Andrés Baiz (credited Andi Baiz) has used a minimal cast to create his fine thriller, “La Cara Oculta” [Eng. Title: The Hidden Face] in this Spanish-Colombian co-production.
Adrián and girlfriend Belén move to Colombia from Spain, so that he could pursue his career as conductor in the Colombian philharmonic orchestra – Belén works from home as a fashion designer. She soon suspects Adrián might be having an affair with one of the musicians in the orchestra, and after some thought, hatches a plan – she would leave him a message that she’s leaving, and instead move into a secret bunker originally built by the house landlord to see his reaction. The bunker is soundproof, bullet proof, and is hidden right next to the master bedroom and bath, with a secret entrance through one of the mirrors which one can see through from the inside, but is just a plain mirror when viewed from outside. After recording her message she moves all her belongings into the bunker to give the impression that she’d indeed moved away and shuts herself in. The only problem is it could be opened only through a key to get out, the key which she’d forgetfully left on top of the bed before locking herself in. She realises her mistake only when she decides to end the act and come out to console Adrián who finds it hard to cope with her leaving. But one day Adrián meets and brings home waitress Fabiana, only to be watched helplessly by Belén from inside the bunker. The rest of the film is of her bearing witness to goings on in the bedroom while desperately trying to let herself out to freedom.
I wasn’t expecting too much from the film when it started off predictably and full of clichés. But soon realised it to be one of those original films that get better as the plot thickens. The best part of the film for me though was creating situations where events are simultaneously viewed and experienced from two different viewpoints – the drama contained there in is very well executed. It is also constructed like an old fashioned thriller a la early Claude Chabrol. I’m glad films like these still do get made, and I find myself in renewed appreciation of Baiz’s work. The cinematography and editing is top notch, as is the direction and performances by the three key characters. But the best of the three performances undoubtedly belongs to the beautiful, incredibly sexy and talented Spanish actress Clara Lago who plays Belén. This is a neat little film with some original ideas, and therefore, Recommended Viewing..!