Antonio Albajara is a successful poet and teacher in the Berkeley University that returns to Gijón (Principality of Asturias, north to Spain). He travels there looking for everything that he left behind in his youth when he turned a well-known poet and writer in Mexico and USA, winning the Nobel prize with time. In Gijón he meets again with his past in Roxiu, an old friend (both played in the Sporting of Gijón's soccer team years ago) and Elena, his great-love of past times. Through his memory, his friends and Elena, Antonio starts an unforgettable journey by everyone. Written by
...almost invariably do a miserable job picking the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar? This is exhibit "A", front and center. A man finally returns from Spain from decades of self-exile during the Franco years, and reunites with an old flame. Could have been good in the hands of a Mike Leigh, but with this script and director it was a snoozefest. Almost nothing happens. For some reason, "Das Boot," which had more drama in any given two minutes of its running time than "Volver a empezar" in its entirety, couldn't be nominated and then selected. Huh?
Oscar did it again this year (2005), when it again picked a dull Spanish movie few will ever see out of the best pool I can remember, with "Der Undergang" (Downfall), "Un long dimanche de fiançailles" (A Very Long Engagement), and "Shi mian mai fu" ("House of Flying Daggers). No, I do *not* need to see war explosions or airborne cutlery in all my foreign movies, but com'n, how elitist can you get?
Note that "Volver a empezar" is not readily available on VHS or DVD. The marketplace knew better than Oscar. And if you do find it be warned that, yes, it will kill any enjoyment you have of "Pachelbel's Canon."
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