Lost in Spaces (and Guilt): A Case for Sebastián Silva’s “Magic Magic” and “Crystal Fairy”

On April 18, 2014, Sebastián Silva’s Magic Magic (2013) finally received a theatrical release in the UK, prompting a string of new, mostly positive reviews from critics, including a perceptive take from Little White Lies’s Calum Marsh.[1] This release follows Magic Magic being dumped straight-to-DVD in North America, despite screening at a handful of film festivals, including Sundance and Cannes in 2012. In addition, 2013 saw the stateside theatrical release of Silva’s Crystal Fairy and the Magical Cactus and 2012 (2013), but the film managed only 20 theaters in its widest domestic release, despite prominently featuring Michael Cera throughout its trailers and low-scale marketing campaigns. Moreover, while each film was greeted favorably critics, neither managed to make a single critic’s top 10 list from 2013 (readers, correct me if you know otherwise). Perhaps these exclusions stem from each film’s limited exposure. More likely, however, is that neither film received the serious critical attention necessitated to parse through their askew aesthetics, which offer an unusual, though rewarding confluence of acerbic cultural critique and deadpan linguistic humor to, ultimately, disturbing effects. While Silva’s The Maid (2009) hinted at his desired aesthetic aims, these new films confirm and extend them, operating in a manner that synthesizes the sensibilities of 1960’s European Art Films and contemporary DIY cinema, yet transcend any easily proscribed attempt at pastiche because of their cultural specificity and interest in understanding both characters and scenario from the inside-out, beginning with character-driven minutia and culminating in thematic significance. Continue reading “Lost in Spaces (and Guilt): A Case for Sebastián Silva’s “Magic Magic” and “Crystal Fairy”” »