Arrebato A.K.A. Raptured, is a 1979 Spanish film that has received a 4K restoration to be enjoyed by new generations. It is a necessary classic that has gone unnoticed by many and thanks to this re-release now others have the opportunity to appreciate it for what it is: a well-structured piece of bizarre cinema with characters developed to their fullest expression and a narrative as fascinating as the main character’s early fictional life.
Jose Sigado (Eusebio Poncela) is a low-budget Spanish horror director who knows what he wants when expressing his vision on the big screen. Unfortunately, the locality is not prepared for his ideas as they prefer Hollywood films over regional cinema. Frustrated by the lack of interest of his own peers in his films, Jose sees his current life interrupted by a strange package with a recording of an old acquaintance, an eccentric amateur director named Pedro (Will More) with whom he struck up a friendship in the past to help him film his endearing and somewhat intractable ideas. Now, Jose gets to see Pedro’s recent recordings in which something strange is happening and it seems only an old friend can help uncover what’s happening. Could it be the monsters are Pedro’s art trying to creep out of his mind after burying it for so long or is there something stalking and feeding of him during his sleep?
The plot feels quite fast-paced and intriguing despite carrying a long, very graphic description of the director’s current events and past life. It goes back and forth between the past and present of the main character— the fights to excel in his profession and in his love life and the fight to advance the career of a stranger who somehow touched his heart. In the end, all the scenes exposed in the film have value on the central story.
The performances go sideways— just as the characters can be charismatic and nostalgic, they can also be cold and calculating. They are part of the root of the story, with everything and their different nuances expressing several emotions that, even when having different angles to emphasize each warm or perverted feeling, make the characters three-dimensional, including those who are temporary. The late Will More, playing the character of Pedro, takes everything for himself. It doesn’t matter if he’s alone, with company or not even on scene. Every time he appears, you may categorize him as loveable or insufferable— his versatility is profound to the edges of the script. When his character is mentioned, you can’t help but think about how sad he might be and wonder what he might be doing on his own.
Arrebato was ahead of its time with an intriguing supernatural story to tell, filled with real and fictional monsters that take away Pedro’s energy and Jose’s sleep. If you’re in the mood for a vintage psychedelic thriller, then this is the right film to watch during midnight. As a warning, don’t try to record yourself while you sleep— we know that never ends well.
10 OUT OF 10 FILM REELS