Netflix’s roster of films and series is truly impressive. And it keeps growing. Of late they have started to add foreign languages films and series. One of the latest is Selva Tragica or Tragic Jungle. It involves a story about a woman trying to escape her prescribed fate in life mixed with the Mayan jungle and some supernatural elements.
In 1920 deep in the Mayan jungle on the border of Mexico and Belize a group of men are working collecting gum from the trees. While doing so they come across a young woman. Though mostly silent, they find out her name is Agnes (Indira Rubie Andrewin – first film) and she is from Belize. She is fleeing an arranged marriage. The men decide to keep her with them.
Agnes’s presence brings about plenty of conflict amongst the group. Many, as they don’t often see women, are aroused by her. Begin to have fantasies about her. A couple cannot seem to resist her. They have sex with her. She seems rather indifferent to what is happening. Afterwards each of these men turns up dead. Turns out they have awoken a being which dwells in the deepest parts of the jungle. A being which
Though the film is a rather trim 96 minutes, its slow pace makes it seem much longer than that. But that slow pace, like the thick brush of the jungle, hides many a thing. A feminist agenda, critiques of the colonial ways and a lot of symbolism. But because of the sparseness of the content there is nothing to really grasp onto.
Back to the slowness, it really kills any chance the film has. It seems to involve a few deaths, hacking at trees and lots of nothing. Just the sounds of the jungle. Soon it dawns on you that this is because there is really no story to be found here. Just a lot of beautiful cinematography.