If you’ve spent anytime studying or reading about film chances are you’ve come across someone describing it as a ‘visual medium’. The mantra filmmakers are constantly instructed to burn into their brains is ‘show, don’t tell’, yet many get tangled in wordy scripts full of exposition for the feeble minded. All this is a long way of saying that despite Salmon’s (aka Eivind Holmboe) Diente por Ojo being a Spanish language film with no subtitles, I not only followed the 20 minute story, but was actively drawn into it – I was interrupted around the 9 minute mark on my initial watch, but felt compelled to return to complete the film later that day.
In structure Diente por Ojo feels akin to Amores Perros, or Crash, yet not derivative of either. In a time of instant foreign language Hollywood remakes because audiences apparently don’t want to read in the cinema, it’s heartening to reaffirm that good cinema transcends language, with or without all that pesky reading.