By David Finkelstein | December 18, 2003

An experimental road movie/buddy picture which is poised somewhere between home movie, documentary, and fiction film, “Más Fuerte” shows the filmmaker and two friends on a car trip from Germany to Morocco. Most of the images are of the roadside, seen through the car window. We see billboards, nuclear power plants, wind turbines, and a landscape which gets progressively hotter, drier, and brighter as they travel South. The soundtrack is a montage of the car radio, banter of the three friends, and a lot of traffic sounds, not necessarily in sync with the images. The film is shot on both black and white and color film stocks, and is edited with a lot of cliché “experimental” techniques such as superimpositions, slow motion, and cuts which last only a few frames. These stylistic tics are not always used for a clear expressive or aesthetic purpose.

When they finally arrive in Morocco, the look of the film changes radically, mainly because the shots are not taken from inside the car. Instead, we enter the crowded, winding streets of the old part of a Moroccan city. The yellowish red of old stone walls and dust predominates, and the manner and dress of the Moroccans shows that the three friends have succeeded in escaping a European milieu. At the end of the film, they destroy their car by throwing big rocks at it. As in several other Fleisch films, there is a love/hate relationship with technology which is expressed violently.

This film could have gone in several directions in order to have a strong impact: examining the relationship between the three guys, a visual examination of the journey, a look at the cultural distance between Europe and the Arab world, even a study in sound/image collage technique. It did not go far enough in any of these directions to really engage me. “Más Fuerte” would have to be much stronger for me to be moved by it.

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