"Asignatura pendiente" is the José's way of referring to his and Elena's relationship at the beginning of this movie. For him, the Franco regime's cultural policies prevented Spaniards from having a healthy attitude toward sex, hence preventing him and Elena from having a fulfilling relationship in their youth. When they meet over ten years later in 1975, José proposes taking care of this "unfinished business"--literally, an asignatura pendiente is a course that one has failed and must make up at a later time. Director José Luis Garci does a good job of representing the giddiness of a new, joyful relationship. As the movie goes on, there are suggestions that the relationship is nourished by its implicit contrariness to the Franco regime, and the Caudillo's death thus signals a change in the relationship as it does in the country as a whole. Like Fernando Colomo's "Tigres de papel", "Asignatura pendiente" gives an interesting, often funny account of the psychological effects of the transition to democracy. Plus, we are treated to a sequence of documentary footage and a dramatization of the frustrations that went along with the sense of impending change and liberation. For this representation of the times and the appreciation of the complicated nature of mature love, "Asignatura pendiente" deserves to be called a classic of Spanish cinema.
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