The Aura

Director: Fabián Bielinsky
Screenwriters: Fabián Bielinsky

Institute History

  • 2006 Sundance Film Festival


In his elegantly conceived second feature, The Aura, Fabián Bielinsky (Nine Queens) both furthers his exploration of film form and creates a complex genre film firmly rooted in character. Espinoza is an introverted taxidermist perfectly suited to solitary, meticulous work. Though private and unassuming, he's remarkably observant—an attribute that lends itself to masterminding perfect robberies…in his head. After his wife leaves him, Espinoza accepts a friend's invitation to go hunting in Patagonia. When an accidental death presents him with the chance to pull off a real heist, Espinoza naïvely places himself in the center of a scheme to rob an armored van. Unlike those in his imagination, however, this is a real crime with real criminals.

As a heist film, The Aura sports a shrewd, serpentine plot, and Bielinsky allows us the fun of trying to arrange puzzle pieces on our own. But he also never lets go of his preoccupation with character and crafts a style that's airy and contemplative; The Aura's gorgeous, deliberate visuals are almost hypnotic. Espinoza is a fascinating protagonist, a quiet, opaque man who suffers from epilepsy. The "aura" refers to the eerie, frozen moment before a seizure when Espinoza knows it's coming but can do nothing about it. It's one of a handful of intertwining metaphors and themes that give The Aura a satisfying sense of wholeness.

— John Nein

Screening Details

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