ANIMAL will be bringing you continuing coverage from The New York Film Festival, which runs at Sep 26 – Oct 12 at Film Society of Lincoln Center. Two Shots Fired plays Monday, September 29th at 8:45pm and Tuesday, September 30th at 3:00pm.

Two Shots Fired opens on our protagonist, 16-year-old Mariano, raving in a club, strobe lights flashing, 4/4 beats thumping. Moments later, he returns home and shoots himself in the head and stomach. It’s confusing because we only see his torso when he fires the gun to his head outside the frame, then his hand calmly enters the frame and fires again into his belly. We don’t know why he does this, and we never find out.

A voiceover explains that the bullet just grazed his head and the doctors never found the bullet in his stomach, which remains inside him and becomes a source of many jokes with metal detectors.

Within a week he’s out of the hospital and seems to be fine, except for the fact that the bullet has inexplicably added an extra harmony to his flute playing, causing endless headaches for the baroque music quartet he plays in.

Martin Rijtman is an Argentine filmmaker who’s been out of the game for about ten years, and it’s a shame to say that his return doesn’t really amount to much. If that plot setup seems kind of random, it is. No real motivations are ever assigned. Nothing ends up really mattering at all. The film just moves on to another character whenever it feels like it, puttering out without an ending.

The synopsis for Two Shots Fired calls it a “digressive comedy with the weight of an existentialist novel.” That might have been good, if the filmmaker had attempted to present some sort of dynamics at any point in the film. Comedy, like drama, needs tension to function. Here, the characters simply exist with one expression on their face for two hours. They don’t seem to change or grow in any way.

Just because life itself has no reason doesn’t mean there is no reason to live. If the filmmaker believes that life is pointless, then what is the point of making a film? Perhaps it’s because he enjoys making films and feels that it gives life meaning. Hopefully in the future he will find a way to make the audience feel the same way.

CHEAT SHEET: If you don’t manage to get tickets to the NYFF and you need to talk about it in conversation, here’s what to say:

— “They could have established that life is meaningless and repetitive with an animated gif and saved themselves a lot of time.”
— “That one character that always buys a burger and a chicken sandwich then mashes them together into a burger/chicken sandwich. He made me really hungry.”