It's one thing to believe that human life has no value, and it's quite another to see the philosophy acted out, vividly and interminably, on the streets. That's the lesson German Jaramillo learns in Barbet Schroeder's Our Lady of the Assassins, playing a world-weary writer who returns from Europe to his native Medellin, Colombia with nothing to do but die. Jaramillo begins a relationship with Anderson Ballesteros, a gang member 40 years his junior, and though Jaramillo pontificates on the ugliness of God and the futility of life he is startled by his catamite's willingness to kill for seemingly no reason, with no remorse for or even memory of the act. Religion and violence are woven together like a death shroud over the city of Jaramillo's birth, making it seem utterly alien to him, but as time goes on he finds himself less and less able to divorce himself from the beauty and grotesquerie of his surroundings. Shot on DV and directed with stunning ferocity, Our Lady is an often repetitive and somewhat overlong meditation on death, sex, God and the nature of violence; it's also one of the most bracing films released this year.
Director: Barbet Schroeder
Cast: German Jaramillo