|Original title:||Una Ballena|
|Directed by:||Pablo Hernando|
|Country & Release Year:||Spain, Italy 2023|
PRODUCTION COMPANIES: Sr. & Sra, Orisa Produzioni
PRODUCERS: Leire Apellaniz
DIRECTOR: Pablo Hernando
Directed by Pablo Hernando
Ingrid is a hired killer with a special power: she can use the darkness to enter a parallel world and reappear somewhere else in the real world. This allows her to get into the homes of her victims and get out again without leaving any trace. However, using this power is turning her into something that isn’t human. Ingrid acquired this power when she was a child, when a monster touched her one night. Her eyes turned black and, since then, every time she returns from the darkness she expels through her head a strange white substance which she collects and keeps very carefully in a metal trunk.
Hired by a local gangster called Abasolo, Ingrid kills a man who works in the city’s Port Authority. He was the last obstacle preventing Abasolo, who has just moved to the city, from taking control of the port. The next day, Abasolo gets a visit from Melville, a smuggler who traffics with mysterious creatures taken from the sea. Many years ago, Melville and Abasolo were lovers and when their relationship ended Abasolo left the country, filled with resentment. Melville gradually built up a little empire with the port as the neurological center of his business. Now that Abasolo has come back, Melville is about to lose what it has taken him a lifetime to build.
After each murder, Ingrid gets rid of the evidence, throwing it into the sea from a cliff. One day, Ingrid sees a stranded whale on the beach. While she observes it at close hand, a diver comes out of the water and approaches her. His name is Jonah. Ingrid seems to have a vague memory of Jonah, perhaps from a time that is now very far away. Soon after saying goodbye to Jonah, Ingrid gets a call from Melville. He wants to hire her to kill Abasolo.
Ingrid accepts the job and starts to prepare for it. Her progressive incursions into the darkness are distancing her from the world of humans and she, although tenuously, is aware of this drift. She stays with Jonah, who doesn’t seem to be afraid of her or of the criminal world in which she moves. Ingrid finally realizes that she never knew Jonah, but he looks like a boy she knew when she was younger, who was very important in her life and whom she barely remembers now.
Meanwhile, Melville sees how the people around him are gradually disappearing. The closest thing to friends that he has had, the people with whom he did business, are retiring or have died. Melville lives alone with no one to accompany him and is increasingly aware of the mistakes he made over the course of his life and which have led him to this point.
The day before Ingrid goes to kill Abasolo, the latter hires her to kill Melville urgently. Not knowing what to do, Ingrid explains the situation to Melville. If she kills Abasolo, everyone will know it was on Melville’s orders and there will be consequences because a lot of people profit from Abasolo’s businesses. But Melville is alone and about to lose all that is left to him: his city and the memories of the life he led there. Ingrid decides to kill Abasolo.
Ingrid slips into Abasolo’s house through the darkness and, hidden, waits for him. When Abasolo arrives, Ingrid kills him without any problem. But something goes wrong. Ingrid notices that something has changed. When she emerges from the darkness, this time she hasn’t expelled any liquid. As if she had none left, as if she were empty. When she tries to enter the darkness again to go back to her house, she senses that she has returned to a place that is dangerous for her, an abyss from which she will be unable to escape if she enters it. She goes back to the light and realizes that she has no choice but to shoot her way out to the street. When she manages to get back home, she discovers that someone has come in and stolen her metal trunk where she kept the white substance. It was all a trap by Melville.
She goes to look for Melville in the places where she met with him, but she only finds traces of his escape. Time passes and when night comes the darkness will carry her away forever. When it seems that she is totally lost, she has an idea. In the file that they gave her when they commissioned her to kill Melville, she finds information about him, including his address. Desperate, she calls Jonah and asks him to lend her his car to get there. Jonah refuses and Ingrid has no choice but to threaten him with her gun. The only person Ingrid had managed to get close to, even minimally, the only one with whom she had managed to behave with a trace of humanity, now looks up at her from the floor, terrified.
She drives to Melville’s house and sneaks in through the back door. In the living room there is an enormous collection of figures and images of sea monsters. One of these little figures represents a human with black eyes: a creature like Ingrid. While she looks at the little figure, Melville’s bodyguard shoots her from behind. There is a shoot-out and then a fight. The bodyguard dies and leaves Ingrid dying.
Ingrid manages to pull herself together and goes to the upper floor. Her strength is failing and she has trouble staying on her feet. When she opens Melville’s bedroom, the light inside goes out. Ingrid is paralyzed and she is shot at pointblank range. Melville comes out of the bedroom and sees Ingrid in a pool of black blood. He lifts her up and places her carefully in the dark bedroom. Aware that he has killed a special being, he apologizes. Then he closes the door. Ingrid falls into the world of darkness.
Melville opens the trunk with Ingrid’s white liquid in it and sinks his hand into it. The liquid rejuvenates him: a second chance to live, this time without making the same mistakes. He sets fire to the house and flees without looking back.
In the darkness, the monster appears before Ingrid and envelops her with its tentacular arms. It lifts her up and carries her off. The two move away and disappear forever among the shadows.