Thursday, 17 November 2011

More Random Viewing

Left to right: Spanish Movie (Javier Ruiz Caldera, 2009), 18 comidas / 18 Meals (Jorge Coira, 2010).

Spanish Movie is in the same vein as the likes of Scary Movie (complete with Leslie Nielsen cameo), but with Spanish cinema as the focus of its parodies and in-jokes. Among the films parodied are: The Others (Alejandro Amenábar, 2001), Volver (Pedro Almodóvar, 2006), Mar adentro / The Sea Inside (Alejandro Amenábar, 2004), El Orfanato / The Orphanage (J.A. Bayona, 2007), Alatriste (Agustín Díaz Yanes, 2006), El laberinto del fauno / Pan's Labyrinth (Guillermo del Toro, 2006), Abre los ojos / Open Your Eyes (Alejandro Amenábar, 1997), Los lunes al sol / Mondays in the Sun (Fernando León de Aranoa, 2002), *[Rec] (Jaume Balaguero and Paco Plazas, 2007), and I'm sure I spotted a nod to Los cronocrímenes / Timecrimes (Nacho Vigalondo, 2007) as well. The humour is a bit hit and miss (it has a certificate of age 7 and over) but some of the film parodies have a real attention to detail -from set decoration and costume to actual shooting style. The three central actors -Alexandra Jiménez (playing a version of Penélope Cruz's Raimunda from Volver), Silvia Abril (playing a cross between Nicole Kidman in The Others and Belén Rueda in The Orphanage), and Carlos Areces (seemingly playing every Javier Bardem role from the last decade)- are all very good and throw themselves into the endeavour with gusto. You can also have fun playing 'spot the Spanish director', as a host of them turn up in cameos.
18 comidas, although comedic in parts, is a rather different proposition. It essentially divides one day into three meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner), jumping between different vignettes around the city of Santiago de Compostela, as different sets of people (friends, couples, families) sit down to eat (we see each of the sets of people at each of the mealtimes). Some of the characters cross between different stories, others are self-enclosed. Some of the stories are slight, although I would say that they are intended more as glimpses into other people's lives than actual narratives; even some of the strands that have more of a 'plot' are not actually 'resolved' by the end of the film. There are some excellent performances (it is a large cast: Luis Tosar, Esperanza Pedreño, Pedro Alonso, Sergio Peris-Mencheta, and many more) and many moving moments as people try to connect (sometimes succeeding, sometimes not). It will also make you hungry. 

I watched Spanish Movie on DVD (it was part of my test) and 18 comidas is now available to watch at Filmin (they have the trailer as well).