2015, Movies

TIFF 2015: The Club (2015, Pablo Larrain)

This is an extremely black comedy – as black as black comedies get – about a group of delinquent priests that have been forced to “retire” in a house in a small town in Chile. Unfortunately my experience of this film was affected by a couple things. First, I saw it with one of the least receptive audiences I could possibly imagine – only a couple of us were laughing and the general tone of shock in the audience actually made it feel like we were doing something wrong. Also, the guy next to me was using his phone and the women on the other side were talking constantly. So I didn’t enjoy my experience.

But the movie is a daring, provocative and brutal film – where the comedy is sometimes too close to tragedy for us to be comfortable laughing – that throws the sins of the Catholic Church in our faces and doesn’t let us look away.

There is one major problem that keeps me from giving it a higher rank: the movie appears to conflate homosexuality and pedophilia, which is not only utterly incorrect but highly offensive. I couldn’t figure out whether or not this was a deliberate choice or one made in ignorance. If it was a deliberate choice, then I would have to guess why (and I’m not sure I can). If it wasn’t a deliberate choice, then it’s a serious black mark on an otherwise bold and very, very black comedy about things we’d rather not think about.


  • Directed by Pablo Larraín
  • Produced by Juan de Dios Larraín, Pablo Larraín
  • Written by Guillermo Calderón, Pablo Larraín, Daniel Villalobos
  • Starring
    • Alfredo Castro as Padre Vidal
    • Roberto Farías as Sandokan
    • Antonia Zegers as Madre Mónica
    • Marcelo Alonso as Padre García
    • Alejandro Goic as Padre Ortega
    • Jaime Vadell as Padre Silva
    • Alejandro Sieveking as Padre Ramírez
    • José Soza as Padre Lazcano
    • Francisco Reyes as Padre Alfonso
    • Gonzalo Valenzuela as Gonzalo, surfer 1
    • Diego Muñoz as Diego, surfer 2
    • Catalina Pulido as Cata, surfer girl
    • Paola Lattus as fishseller
    • Erto Pantoja as greyhound trainer 1
    • Felipe Ríos as greyhound trainer 2
  • Music by Carlos Cabezas
  • Cinematography: Sergio Armstrong
  • Release date: 9 February 2015
  • Running time: 97 minutes
  • Country: Chile
  • Language: Spanish
  • Box office :$483,222

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