by Federico Grandesso
VENICE, Italy, Sept. 15 (Xinhua) -- Argentinian filmmaker Gonzalo Tobal's Acusada (The Accused), which premiered in competition recently at the Venice Film Festival, examines how the media covers sensational crime cases as well as public fascination with such stories.
The film focuses on a university student who comes under extreme media exposure after she is accused of the brutal murder of her best friend and on the ensuing the trial, during which a smart and cynical defence lawyer dictates the strategy to win the game.
In an interview with Xinhua in Venice, Tobal said his movie was loosely based on similar cases in Argentina, Mexico, and other countries, and that he was inspired by the ways in which such horrible crime stories affect and fascinate us.
"I wanted to build a crime thriller that would keep viewers interested, while at the same time leaving space for... us to reflect on some issues," said Tobal, whose previous work has investigated family relationships.
"I wanted to tell a crime story from within the intimacy of a family," he said. "I wanted to see what a family goes through when it is exposed to this kind of experience."
As far as his views on contemporary media, the South American director said that the point of his movie was not to criticize but rather to explore complicated issues in a complex world.
"I wanted to show that things are contradictory and paradoxical, rather that criticizing," Tobal said. "In the film I didn't want to suggest who was good or bad -- I think everybody had their motivations and contradictions."
In terms of his directing style, Tobal said he prefers a highly intuitive approach. "I tried not to limit myself, and at the same time I didn't want to imitate anyone," he said.
"My film combines different languages, and I'm happy I wasn't forced to go for a more typical single genre film," said Tobal, adding that he admires directors including Oscar-winner Alfonso Cuaron, who garnered this year's Golden Lion with his film Roma, but that his tastes range from the mainstream to the underground.
"I can appreciate well-made and well-performed Hollywood films, as well as very strange auteur films by Carlos (Reygadas, who also competed at Venice) and far more independent films," he concluded.
Tobal won the Cinefondation Award at Cannes Film Festival 2007 with his short Ahora Todos Parecen Contentos.