Killing God (Matar a Dios) first published by SciFiNow
“It’s me or the omelette,” says middle-aged Carlos (Eduardo Antuña), about twenty minutes into Caye Casas and Alberto Pintó’s Killing God (Matar a Dios). Carlos’ wife Ana (Itziar Castro) is insisting that his father Eduardo (Francesc Orella) eat the last slice of Spanish omelette that she prepared for this New Year’s Eve family dinner. Carlos is vehemently opposed to this, in part because he is worried about the effect of overeating on Eduardo’s weak heart, and in part because he is “sick to death” of Ana always getting her way. After all Carlos had, only hours earlier, intercepted a text on Ana’s phone suggesting that she has been having an affair with her boss. These are desperate times. Faced with the possible cardiac arrest of his recently widowed father, the potential suicide of his lovesick and depressed brother Santi (David Pareja), and the end of his own marriage, Carlos backs up his words to Eduardo by holding a blade to his own wrist – even if, rather pathetically, it is only a butter knife.
Eschatological issues are on the mind of everyone in this dysfunctional clan as they wait together to see out the end of a difficult year. All this is before they have even realised that there is an uninvited guest with them in the big house that they have borrowed for the occasion – a bearded, scruffily dressed dwarf (Emilio Gavira) who says not only that he is God, but also that all humanity will be wiped out at dawn. He tasks the far-from-perfect, bickering quartet with choosing the only two people in the world who will survive this arbitrary apocalypse – and as the hours tick away, they must determine whether this stranger really is who he claims to be, what (if any) kind of future they value, and whether, if God is not dead, he can be killed.
Casas and Pintó’s feature debut is a dark comedy in which Eduardo’s newly discovered hedonism, Santi’s despairing idealism, Carlos’ sexist selfishness and Ana’s belated hope are all pitted against each other. “The future of humanity isn’t looking very promising,” declares the dwarf, after improbably emerging from the upstairs toilet to drink all the wine of these godless “shitty people” and to scare them with stories of their fast-approaching mortality. Part of what makes Killing God so funny is the incongruous juxtaposition of these people’s pettily banal preoccupations with much larger ethical and theological concerns. It is like watching a melodramatic soap opera that has accidentally acquired cosmic proportions and life-or-death urgency. The God at the centre of this farcical universe comes shabbily grounded, shitting, boozing and bleeding like everyone else – but he might actually be the Almighty, if not just an almighty loco. The point, of course, is that morality, perhaps even miracles, reside in the ordinary – and that our every day should be lived as though it might be the last.
Strap: Caye Casas and Alberto Pintó’s feature debut is an apocalyptic farce where New Year’s Eve might also be the End of Days.
© Anton Bitel