Thursday, 21 March 2013

Random Viewing

Miel de naranjas / Orange Honey (Imanol Uribe, 2012), Invasor / Invader (Daniel Calparsoro, 2012)

    Miel de naranjas is the last of the catch-up films (i.e. those that I watched towards the end of last year but didn't write about at the time). Set in 1950s Andalusia, the film tells the story of Enrique (Iban Garate), a young man doing his military service in a Judge's (Karra Elejalde) office, and Carmen (Blanca Suárez), Enrique's fiancée and the Judge's niece. Enrique has the intention of keeping his head down (to the dismay of some of his more political friends), seeing out his military service, and then becoming a teacher (much to the disgust of the Judge who wants better things for his niece) - but what he sees on a daily basis in the confines of the Judge's quarters makes him realise that, in order to change things, he will have to act and put his relationship with Carmen at risk. It's a handsome production but I didn't see much more to it than that. The top notch cast also includes Ángela Molina, Eduard Fernández, Nora Navas, and Barbara Lennie.
    Invasor was on my 'films from 2012 to catch up with in 2013' list. The film opens with two Spanish military doctors, Pablo (Alberto Ammann) and Diego (Antonio de la Torre), on a humanitarian mission in Iraq, having their vehicle blown up as they return to base. We then cut to Pablo in the hospital - suffering from memory loss and wounds that do not match what we have seen. As his memory resurfaces, he realises that his recall of events does not match the official version and sets off to find out the truth with shady government operatives (headed by Karra Elejalde, again) in pursuit and a cover-up in full swing. It is a slick and highly polished production -easily matching anything Hollywood could do with the same material- and well worth 90 minutes of your time. It has become very topical in the past week as well. One of Calparsoro's earlier films, Guerreros / Warriors (2002), sees a peace-keeping mission go awry in Kosovo with the group of Spanish soldiers left stranded in the Kosovan countryside, evading local militia -it is also worth tracking down.