Mixing theatre and cinema, Sin Sangre is an impressive combination of the two art forms, but not one that helps tell the story. Adapted from a novella by Alessandro Baricco, it begins during the Chilean civil war and looks at the violence and vengeance that occurred under Pinochet. Three men kill a doctor for war crimes at his forest hide-out, but they leave his young daughter alive. Years later, one of the men meets the girl and, as they tell their life stories, a break in the cycle of violence becomes a possibility.Acting within two screens that have settings and extras projected onto them, the precision with which the cast move is impressive. Having performed the play/film over two-hundred times, the interaction between the actors and the cinematics is perfect, so that when a man kicks in a projected door it flies open immediately. Similarly, the supertitles are manually controlled to account for variations in line delivery each night.
Uniting cinema and theatre allows for some arresting shots that introduce different perspectives to the stage. One particularly good one has an actress standing against an upright bed while the top of her mother’s head is seen on screen walking towards her, placing the audience on the roof looking down.
Despite these moments, the effect is more technically impressive than entertaining. Masks are used because each actor plays several roles, but this doesn’t seem necessary and they actually distract from the serious message of the story, with some characters looking like they belong in Sin City when combined with the stylised backgrounds.
Laura Pizarro’s performance as the girl, both scared child and later as damaged adult, is passionate, occasionally pushing melodramatic, which is perhaps a danger of mixing stage acting with cinema.