Yes, there are worse things in life than starting with a Barbra Streisand standard in your head: a Barbra Streisand standard hummed early in the morning by a partner (and despite all friends) and colleague waiting to enter the fifth BCN Film Fest day. Things from film critics like a certain veteran (he already has a shot of Astrazeneca on him, but the side effects we have been stoically enduring for years) film commentator and head of the longest running radio program in Spain. However, and without serving as a precedent, that of the Streisand and his immortal (immortal because we can not finish him off, even with shots, those of the late Anthony James in his moment of Grab it as you can 2 ½) The way we were today came that neither painted so that it was the leitmotif of the films (three) that we played in the official section. As we were … Nostalgia for the past, memory, what we must sacrifice from the past to move forward or the image we project to others, or perhaps what society expects us to be. Elements found in the excellent manners and family drama directed by Fernando Trueba (The forgetfulness that we will be), in the debatable but with points of interest Yalda, the night of forgiveness, and in one of those comedies (with) French intellectuals that reaffirm the legend, nothing black, of his bad slobber raised eyebrow.
While one was begging to enter the room (again the 4 of the Verdi with that mural that not even Rod Serling would have used for one of his nightmarish stories in the television Night Gallery) and prayed even louder that the snowy colleague would stop in his great successes of the Streisand, he recalled that precisely today Monday was the premiere of that other section of the BCN Film Fest that has been there since its launch: Art al Cinema (you will not need the Google Translator, I suppose). In past editions, these tours by painters, museums, artists… for art in general, had the faithful attendance of schools and schoolchildren, happy because the lesson of the day was in a cinema and everything was great. Amen with the most appetizing cicerone that one (even being a thirteen-year-old with less lights than an expressionist film) could crave. The documentary that opened this section, limited this fifth edition to only two, was Pompeii: myth and legend, a fascinating journey not only through the city encapsulated in the eternity of lava that froze the prosperous Roman villa in ash and death , but because of its echo in the history of art. Isabella Rossellini, whose distinguished mother, Ingrid Bergman, already had experience with volcanoes in Stromboli, by Roberto Rossellini, Isabella’s father, of course, is the guide on this journey that is not limited to painting or sculpture and that also resorts to the literature, prose and poetry. An exciting multireferential work (including cinema and eroticism) that only lacks an epilogue with Rossellini singing among the (not) ruins of Pompeii, not Blue velvet, but The way we were. Just as we were in the Roman Empire. Less hunk than Steve Reeves, yes yes.
My father, my hero
As we said yesterday, Ángel Sala, brand new director of the Sitges Festival, moderated the virtual meeting with Nicolas Winding Refn in a non-moderate fan mode. At the end of the event, Sala changed the ditto and enjoyed the big screen and a dazzling CasaAsia copy of Takeshi Kitano’s Zatoichi. Hopefully later at home and ending the evening with Phillip Noyce’s Blind Fury starring Rutger Hauer, better even than Kitano’s. A very Angel Sala event, but who I can’t imagine doing it with a Fernando Trueba film (except The Crazy Monkey’s Dream; we know each other Angelito). Call it prejudice or call it prevention. Be that as it may, Oblivion that we will be, the latest production by the Spanish director under the Colombian flag, is the best in many years of the films signed by the author of The Year of the Lights.
Successfully presented at the San Sebastian Festival 2020, in the final to represent Colombia at the Oscars this Sunday (early Monday morning) and multi-award-winning wherever it has participated, The forgetfulness that we will reconcile one with a director who had too much Time provoking me or indifference or directly urticaria (that other Hispanic / Latin American / Ibero-American adventure, choose the term that offends you the least, which was El baile de la victoria). Based on the novel / scrapbook that Héctor Abad Faciolince dedicated to his father, Héctor Abad Gómez, and set in the hectic and violent Colombia of the late 70s and early 80s, El oblivo que seremos might seem alien to the opus and interests as director of the oldest of the Trueba clan. And yet that portrait (loa) of the family could not be something more akin to his work. The air of freedom, almost an oasis in a society in a climate almost of civil war, that is breathed in this group formed by the social leader and human rights activist Héctor Abad takes us back to Belle Époque. As in his Oscar-winning choral film, The forgetfulness that we will be is a choral film structured not in the key character of the pater families, but in that of the son (not a true son in Belle Époque: the character of Jorge Sanz), in the idealization and in the memory of the day to day, of special events and other things that remain at the end in our memories to define not only the father figure, but also that of our childhood.
The forgetfulness that we will be could not touch our hearts so much without Javier Cámara’s superb creation of Héctor Abad father. The adjectives that we use would fall short of the delicacy and proximity (mythological for a child, for his eyes) of his interpretive work, configured, yes, through the classic direction of Fernando Trueba. An instant like the one that follows the birth sequence, with Javier Cámara’s character turning his back to the camera to give way to pain and tears, is at the same kleenex level as the modest and analogous scene, all modesty and love, of Anthony Hopkins in Lands of Twilight, by a Richard Attenborough director as irregular as Trueba, but when they got it right they were glory.
Save me Deluxe
You will not find me in cycles or festivals about Iranian cinema. I confess it. Life is so short and there are so many movies to see that an extra suffering throws me back. But professionalism, not nobility, compels, and the same as on other occasions here I am again, in the dark and with a mask, before the samples of the cinematography of ancient Persia. A monothematic cinema, usually with the strict censorship of its successive governments (something that has served them, especially in its diffusion and predicament in the West to add extra-cinematic values to quite mediocre proposals) and that it finds in boredom disguised as solemnity ars povero its trademark and successful export (and co-production).
Yalda, the night of forgiveness (what about the night of forgiveness has been added by the distributors, as if to arouse the interest of some clueless viewer who may think they are going to see an Iranian version of The Purge) has precisely everything that slips me from these films: a female yihab drama of denunciation and that clash between an aberrant tradition (subsidized by certain mayors without Twitter) and a strange conciliation / assumption of it. If we add the feminist discourse, which he has not just developed (yes, he throws the stone and hides his hand, and sorry for the connection with the stoning in the set phrase), the film is once again that outdated cinema (little cinema) of thesis that one believed periclido at the end of 68. A cinema that, curiously, has known how to adapt to the agenda that dominates the “adult” cinema that certain critics and festivals revere without any self-critical exercise (they are films, attentive to the word, “necessary ).
However, there is something new in Yalda, the night of forgiveness (or not so much either: do you remember that British film about an IRA terrorist and the relative of one of his victims live on the same television program? What is remarkable: that the conflict takes place in a television space, a reality show. The woman sentenced to death for accidentally killing her husband in front of his daughter, the only person who can forgive her and save her life. While Massoud Bakhsi directs this meeting to the limit as a predictable melodrama (after all it is about two women and surely two victims), the unhealthy morbid that revolves around the television space, those who manage it and the spectators who attend in prime time herd to this one (like those of La muerte en directo or Perseguido), it ends up being the axis of the film. Thus, it is still ironically curious that everything that Yalda criticizes, the night of forgiveness is actually what the feature film is.
Give a French filmmaker a cliché and he’ll write you a script, send you a movie, and get over a million viewers (in France) to see it. And that a certain and respected Spanish distributor buy it and order the posters with the phrase “the most watched comedy of the year in France”. Yes, I know that it is deep down (or on the surface) envy, I don’t know if it heals, but as the original title of (precisely) Healthy Envy says, the happiness of some is … (the envy of others, of course) .
Healthy envy is not a play, but if nobody is turning it into one, something is wrong in the French audiovisual industry. She makes no effort to remind us of what Francis Veber wrote, scripted and directed, and what Agnès Jaoui and the late Jean-Pierre Bacri also did in both media. A dinner that could be for idiots is the center of the action that is unleashed in Daniel Cohen’s film. And the macguffin of the literary intentions of the character of Bérenice Bejo, announced on that evening among friends to the amazement of them and her timid husband (Vincent Cassel, chameleon as usual, especially in comedy), connects the feature film with the opus of Jaoui / Bacri, to those kind, calm but merciless petty bourgeois satires with the intellectual as a comic weapon of destruction.
A Perfect Strangers in which conventions (and the film almost falls into the conventional in its final stretch), lies and truths overlap with the quiet familiarity of a dinner with friends. Between friends… Since the television spots of José Luis Moreno there is nothing that warns more of a tragedy than between friends.
Well, one more Monday and one less BCN Film Fest day.
We will surely read tomorrow.
I don’t know whether to invite them to a dinner with friends.
Or to an Iranian reality show.
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