Again, a movie that you are either going to hate or definitely love; Chaotic Ana is hard to ignore and impossible to forget. Spain's most unique filmmaker, Julio Medem, embarks on a sensitive journey to explore the chaos of one woman and the history of all others. It is a deep, personal, intriguing picture that glides between the director's desire to loudly state his view and his indulgence in the dreamy world of his own fantasies. There are directors, such as Wong Kar-wai, who follow no script and film away until the movie takes shape and there is Julio Medem who set aside the poetic thread of his previous movies -Los Amantes del Círculo Polar, Tierra and Lucía y el sexo- in favour of a movie for the senses and instincts.
The movie's chaotic vision flows smoothly with the music of Jocelyn Pook, a well-known artist who often works as a a film composer. It is as if the music itself runs through Ana's veins, paintings and many tormented lives she shelters. A thousand women inhabit Ana's mind, body and spirit; a painter herself, Ana (Manuela Valles) starts having overwhelming visions of past lives that take the movie and its characters from the Arabian desert to the New York streets, from a cave in Ibitza to the Indian Reservation. Innocent, talented Ana is taken under the protective wing of an art patron, Justine (Charlotte Rampling), who runs an artist workshop for talented young people. Ana leaves her father and their doored cave in Ibiza and goes to Madrid to find friendship in a video artist named Linda (Bebe) and love in the arms of Saïd (Nicolas Cazalé). Friendship grows stronger whereas love vanishes into thin air after Ana has a vision in a restaurant and is collapses. Loveless and frail, Ana is left to the skillful mind of Michael (Asier Newman) who, with the help of hypnosis, triggers memories of past lives of young women who suffered violent deaths and cannot find peace. All these unsettled creatures use Ana's creativity, sensitivity and receptive mind to tell their stories and unravel their secrets.
Our spirit is a vessel of stories, both past and present, that echoes into our heart and embodies our flesh. We are walking stories from the moment we open our newborn eyes onto the world until the moment our flickering light becomes pale, only to inhabit other bodies and unfold other stories. It is shocking and painful for Ana to acknowledge her gift and curse and to let herself to the will of the powerful spirits that live in her. Apart from being the embodiment of women's abused history, Ana is also used to point at male violence and wars and the tenth chapter of the movie -presented in 11 parts- is a scatological, violent sex scene meant to empower Ana and praise once again the living legacy of all the ill-treated women. Men are seen as violent rapists who use their power to make war and women as whores; yet, Medem believes in love and its redeeming power. His own love for his dead sister inspired him to create this love manifesto that is both unsettling and delivering.
Movies never leave us in between; we either fall for them forever or hate them dearly. It is the emotion they trigger in us that matters. Chaotic Ana is a powerful movie whose imagery lingers on your mind long after you finished watching it; long enough to make you want to see it again. It is full of metaphors -the painted doors, it has a perfect round structure -the pigeon shits on the eyes of the falcon, the mighty predator, the same way Ana defecates on the politician's face- and it has incredible music. It throbs with life, although it is more about death, and it feels more alive than many other lively pictures I've seen. It is a farewell song to a loved, powerful, frail, talented artist who left this world too soon, only to inhabit the worlds of other women. The women we hide in ourselves!