Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia is not new in the movies business, as he was one of the producers of another horror thriller Spanish hit El Ataúd de Cristal (2016) (called Glass Coffin as its international name). Then maybe it’s not such a surprise that after being responsible for a handful of short films, his debut feature as a director is becoming a hit. The movie is El Hoyo (2019), aka The Platform for the international market, and it has collected big success in any festival where it gets screened.
The movie, written by David Desola and Pedro Rivero, is placed in a dystopian future where prisoners are housed in vertically stacked cells watch hungrily as food descends from above, feeding the upper tiers, but leaving those below ravenous and radicalized. Like Mad Max in an infinite building, mixed with Vincenzo Natali‘s Cube (1997) and Stuart Gordon‘s Fortress (1992). The official international synopsis reads:
A citizen of a not-too-distant “dystopia” voluntarily incarcerates himself with the promise of increased social mobility upon release, but becomes so radicalized by his captivity that he will risk everything to ride a devilish dumbwaiter on a one-way ticket to protect a “pannacotta”. To appreciate this trajectory, one needs to understand his prison: The Pit – a provocative permutation of a “panopticon” whereby hundreds of cells are vertically stacked and hollowed out through the middle. Each day, a platform adorned with a decadent feast descends through the tower from its summit. It stops on each level for a few minutes, keeping those near the top well-fed, and those at the lower levels fighting for leftovers – if any remain. As further nightmarish nuances to the nature of this imprisonment emerge, The Platform (2019) steadily reveals itself as one of the most striking contributions to cinema’s pantheon of science-fiction penitentiaries and a profound parable, demonstrative of the sociopolitical potency of genre cinema.
El Hoyo (2019) is starred by Emilio Buale, Zorion Eguileor, Eric Goode, Alexandra Masangkay, Ivan Massagué, and Antonia San Juan. This fall it has had a successful festivals run including its world premiere at Toronto International Film Festival in Canada, where it achieved the Grolsch People’s Choice Award at its Midnight Madness program, Austin Fantastic Fest in the USA, and Sitges Film Festival in Catalunya where it was the absolute winner this year collecting the Audience Award for Best Feature Film, Best Visual Effects, Best Motion Picture for Official Fantàstic Competition, and Citizen Kane Award for Best Directorial Revelation.
Netflix has the distribution rights of the film, to it soon to be available in homes worldwide. But first, El Hoyo (2019) is coming out in theaters in Spain this weekend. Here you can watch its official trailer in original Spanish version with English subtitles:
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