La Flor – NYFF Review

By design, La Flor creates a sacred space out of the movie theater. You are scheduled to show up at the same time each day for three consecutive days, because who says films need to play out in one sitting? La Flor lets you step outside, think, and live another day before returning for more; intermissions are placed cunningly, and chunks of the film are designed to allow you to ingest it in sips instead of guzzling it down in one sitting.

You’ll encounter the same audience members at each show, though some will decide not to return– by Part 3, you’ll be left with a select handful of familiar faces to enjoy the film’s most challenging moments with. The theater is part of the movie in this case; your laughter, sadness, awe, and confusion cements itself into the communal space for your three-day long stint. (This is at least how NYFF programmed it, with an 8-part option as well, but I feel the three parts is the definitive way to see it and how I expect it to play if it ever hits theaters. I don’t think a full 14-hour binge is necessary in this case!) Each chunk of the film is stuffed with enigmatic wonders that can shift from riveting to exhausting within subframes. It’s hard to convince someone that “you’ll be bored sometimes!” is a selling point, but to me, it is! The shortest of the three parts is over four hours, so of course, some stretches made me antsy. For me, those stretches always led to some form of catharsis.

There was one section I zoned out during, and some creative choices I didn’t understand or agree with, but being there for it and allowing it to happen in front of me was part of what made the experience as a whole even more impactful. It’s the difference between if I tried to explain this film’s thesis to you through letterboxd, and if you just sat through the entire thing and experienced it for yourself. It’s all well worth it. As for the content, I have a billion thoughts, ideas, extrapolations, and theories that I couldn’t possibly begin to articulate. My brain is a war zone as a result of this movie.

All I can describe is the way I felt while watching it, and believe me when I say I went on a wild emotional rollercoaster. By the end, I was so fucking shook that I stayed glued to my seat for the forty-minute credits. I have more to say but can’t find the words. If you’ve heard of this movie and have even the smallest amount of curiosity, see it if you can.

Rating: A-

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