Oriana (Oriane) Reviews
Oriana's niece María comes from France to the Venezuelan countryside in order to arrange the sale of her Aunt Oriana's hacienda. As she walks through the abandoned house she remembers a summer she had spent there when she was a little girl, and all the odd pieces and ambiguous hints she had collected about a very strange presence in the house. Her recollections suggest anything from a vampire to a ghost to a serial killer, and yet nothing at all. The film wonderfully keeps Aunt Oriana's secret just below our noses and reveals it ever so subtly by the end. Meanwhile, it uses the resources of mood and suggestion to create a dark, sensual story about a dark, sensual theme that is always just around the corner.
Watching Oriana is like chasing a shadow, overhearing a morbid conversation... or seeing a fire light up in the distance during an evening walk in a hacienda where you know no one else is lodged. A thousand explanations can occur to you, and you may just leave it at that, but you never really know for sure.
Oriana is one of two Venezuelan films that have received awards in Cannes; this one was awarded the Caméra d'Or in 1985.
As in most Venezuelan films, Oriana suffers from a few uneven, low-rate performances (several conversations amongst friends have yielded a consensus: bad acting brings most national productions down). Still, the leads are actually quite decent and will not distract. The cinematography and art direction are the highlights.