The Sacred Family


It’s a good thing Antoni Gaudí, architect of Barcelona’s Sagrada Familia church, is already dead, or Sebastián Campos’s new film might have killed him. La Sagrada Familia (The Sacred Family)—which bears the name but none of the inspiration of Gaudí’s masterpiece—stars Néstor Cantillana as Marco, an atheist and aspiring architect who believes that if God existed, he’d be hanging out in that very church, smoking. Marco invites girlfriend Sofía (Patricia López) to spend a weekend with his family; given that she offers little more than illegal drugs and dramatic monologues, we may wonder what he sees in her. The chemistry she shares with Marco’s father (Sergio Hernández) goes exactly where we fear it will and incites the predictable degree of nausea. More problematic, La Sagrada Familia is loaded with obvious yet unmined thematic connections: the house’s precarious perch in the Chilean hills, for example, mirrors the injured Marco’s physical imbalance, as well as his unstable relationships, but Campos never explores these associations. Neither does he interrogate the link between Marco’s current girlfriend’s loquacity and his other love interest’s speechlessness. (Side question: Why are the film’s three women characterized as gabby, silent, or nuts?) Rabbits make an honest effort at symbol- izing chaos, but don’t quite hop all the way there. The film shows flashes of strange brilliance—as when Marco arranges his drugged father and Sofía in incriminating positions, spots a bunny, and then, with an air of solemnity, seeks and munches on Easter eggs. But the ending is cheaper than the girlfriend, and that’s saying something.