Thursday, 6 October 2011
Clockwise from top left: Los lunes al sol / Mondays in the Sun (Fernando León de Aranoa, 2002), Una palabra tuya / One Word From You (Ángeles González-Sinde, 2009), Todos estamos invitados / We're All Invited (Manuel Gutiérrez Aragón, 2008), Poniente (Chus Gutierrez, 2002).
I've watched Los lunes al sol several times previously but decided to rewatch it because while watching Biutiful a few weeks ago León de Aranoa's film kept popping into my head. They are quite different films but I think the 'connection' that I was feeling stems from Javier Bardem's performances in the two films -I can't quite articulate what I mean just yet (it's along the lines of his performance in Biutiful feeling to me like that of Los lunes al sol, but turned inside out in relation to how the strength and fragilities of the respective characters are shown), but I'm working on a post about the two films together (which will hopefully appear before the end of the month, work schedule permitting). I didn't know much about Una palabra tuya, apart from the fact that I like the actors in it (Antonio de la Torre, Malena Alterio, and Esperanza Pedreño). I found it a bit uneven tonally -it's tragicomic but turns a bit hysterical towards the end- but it is nonetheless an affecting portrayal of loneliness and (female) friendship; it is overall quite sad, but it ends on a hopeful note. Todos estamos invitados has an intriguing plot set in the Basque Country -after being shot in the head, a young terrorist (Josu -Óscar Jaenada) is left with amnesia and a battle for control over him commences between his old associates and the doctor (Vanessa Incontrada) who is caring for him. At the same time the doctor's partner (José Coronado), a university lecturer who has openly criticised ETA, receives a serious death threat as a result of his refusal to stay quiet. On the one hand, there's a nature versus nurture aspect to the story as Josu's former associates attempt to manipulate him and reform him into the person they knew before, while he also has the opportunity of a clean slate (he remembers nothing of his life) and responds to the kindnesses of the doctor. At the same time, the film is also about fear and silences, and how fear and intimidation cause silence. I haven't seen anything else that views the situation in quite the same way -so well worth checking out. I continued with another film starring José Coronado (and why not), Poniente -a rural drama about immigration (migrant workers and the worth of their work) and the insularity of small communities, with a bit of romance thrown in for good measure, seen through the eyes of Lucía (Cuca Escribano), a teacher who returns to her home town when her father dies and decides to take over his business.