“I want to create something lasting,” muses millionaire Humberto (José Luis Gómez) on his 80th birthday. So he decides to produce a film that posterity will associate with his name. And because he is convinced that with Because money can buy everything, it should be – appropriate for a megalomaniac – “The best film of all time”.
Mariano Cohn’s and Gastón Duprat’s satire of the same name initially plays with the evaluability of art: Can artistic success be planned? And does it happen automatically just because those involved are the “best” in their field? The film-within-a-film structure lets the eccentric art-house director Lola (Penélope Cruz) meet the renowned theater actor Ivan (Oscar Martinez) and the self-absorbed blockbuster star Felix (Antonio Banderas).
The joint rehearsals of the three alpha animals in an architecturally bold magnificent villa quickly become the purgatory of vanity: Lola wraps the actors in foil so that they can no longer move as she shreds their trophy collection in front of their eyes – as “practice for the Ego”. For one scene, the director rents a crane from which she dangles a rock over the men to “increase the pressure of the game.” There is a constant clash between the modest Ivan, with his strained, exhibited humanity, who approaches his roles methodically, and the lax work ethic of the womanizer Felix, in whose sports car a different starlet poses every morning.
The chamber (or villa) play by the Argentine directing duo increases scene by scene to the grotesque; Lola, Ivan and Felix all embody an uncomfortable self-centeredness. The supposedly down-to-earth Ivan growls: “I hate it when people force me to be privileged.”
Felix, when asked if his children all have the same mother, points to his lap and brags, “Well, all of these!” And while Lola viciously scratches at the masculinity of her performers, she also acts like one herself Female artist parody, including a grueling creative crisis.
It goes without saying that “The Best Movie of All Time”, which, by the way, is a film adaptation of a novel (perhaps as a dig at the film industry’s fear of filming an original screenplay?), only serves as a pretext for a playful industry parody. It is thanks to the clever set design and the self-mockery of the performers that Cohn and Gastón’s meditation on the relationship between ego, acting and directing is actually entertaining. And it doesn’t fail because of real artist egos.