‘Princess’ is a very difficult film to stick labels to and be done with it. You can watch it twice and come off with significantly different interpretations. This shows that at least some thought has been put behind it, but doesn’t necessarily reflect quality. However, in this case, director Adrian Rodriguez really nails it, combining technical proficiency with a wonderful artistic direction and layered, high-quality content.
There are two diverging plains where the action takes place. It could be argued that one succeeds another, but most likely they are different worlds: reality and a kind of limbo- judging by the ‘Dia de los Muertos’ face-paints, a transitional state of existence between life and death. It is here that an old man flirtatiously discusses with a young woman, while contemplating what to do with the dead body propped by the wall of their room. One can speculate that they were involved into some kind of robbery, and that the young man was the unfortunate collateral victim. The conversation, however, doesn’t pan out in this direction at all- what seems to be a mockery of materialism slowly but steadily turns into an absurdist depiction, when the old man offers the girl a tiny box containing a crumpled 1 dollar bill instead of a ring.
The follow-up scenes containing what is likely the actual events which took place shed some light over the entire context, and offer a means of contrast to and likewise a parallel with the limbo’s elements: a dead body in each of these, a stack of money.
Review written by Julian A. L.
A sense of urgency is then emphasized in the final limbo scene: the old man can’t stay there forever; he has to leave that place. The blurred distinction between physicality and spirituality becomes more apparent as details click together. Words have deeper meanings than their surface-level understanding: after all, what do we do with dead bodies, if not eat them…eventually?
‘Princess’ is a brilliantly designed movie - perhaps a bit too intelligent for its own good, making its full understanding a difficult endeavour. Hauntingly good acting intertwines with the beautifully shot scenes, showing a particular emphasis of close-ups, and an expertly dosed soundtrack, all of these contributing to an excellent final product.