The Queen of Fear
By Jordan Taylor With on February 11, 2018

The Queen of Fear opens in darkness. The stillness alerts you to the fact that the power is out but you do not know why. Eeriness grips the audience as we anticipate some kind of horror; and there we sit, anxiously. Turning each dark corner the apprehension builds and so do the absurd reactions from famous actress Robertina (Valeria Bertuccelli). Fear and anxiety short-circuit every storyline. No character is immune from their touch, rendering both the famous Robertina and the audience empty. We have no idea why a dear friend Lisandro (Diego Velazquez), broken by cancer, ended up a world away from Buenos Aires in Copenhagen. What happened between he and Robertina? The only clue is the savage, annoying terror of indecision. Or what about Robertina’s husband whose belongings haunt the basement but for some reason he has moved on? Or what about Robertina’s one-woman play that is fraught with vagueness and a giant semi-dead cherry tree? The only anchor is the unstable Robertina. And while we may not understand her fear we certainly experience it as it makes our skin crawl. But Robertina’s absurdity is oddly reassuring. We too would have the alarm company on speed dial for every time the power goes out and even irrationally give one of them a key, because who knows what could happen? We relate to her neuroses when she fixates on uprooting a cherry tree the gardener is convinced yet has more life. We empathize when her agent explains to her that the only way out of her play on opening night is in the back of an ambulance because only then can you claim the ensuing loss in insurance. But any assurance we may feel is replaced by the realization we are in a slow boil. There is no escape from fear, not even success in the play cannot triumph over fear – Robertina is in its grip! There is no doubt that Valeria Bertuccelli’s performance is moving. For her performance Bertuccelli won the World Cinema Special Jury Award for Acting. In addition the cinematography and lighting play a key role in shaping the audience experience of fear. The Queen of Fear closes in darkness. The power is out, again. And this time a wind rages in Robertina’s courtyard garden. No one is home. Or so you think. Though fear remains, whipped up in frenzy, the smallest seed of courage emerges, as a prayer in the dark.

About the Author: Jordan Taylor
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