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Nicely cradled in José Luis Alcaine's tender and mood-setting photography, combining so tastefully with music mostly by Milladoiro, modern-day Galician troubadours, `La Mitad del Cielo' (one of Mao Tsé Tung's snippets, maybe?) is an enchanting if sometimes slightly long-winded story set in the beautiful valley of Pas, Santander, and in Madrid, between the late fifties and the early part of the sixties.
Angela Molina carries out an acceptable performance, mostly enhanced by Alcaine's clever use of light and camera-work so as to bring out her haunting look so frequently in this film. Ably backed up by some actors who were to become well-known a little later, such as Santiago Ramos (Como un Relámpago, qv), she survives fairly well. But both Margarita Lozano and Fernán Gómez tower above her with really fine performances. Personally I prefer to listen to her father Antonio Molina who was a great singer of fine Spanish songs, and who, like other singers of the times, appeared in numerous films of doubtful parentage in the 50s and 60s.
A leisurely approach is adopted in the telling of the story as Rosa grows up in the beautiful valley, marries a travelling knife-sharpener, and later gets employed as a wet-nurse in Madrid. Sociological and political aspects of the times form a back-cloth without being obtrusive but to useful effect. However I do feel that a goodly part of the last 15-20 minutes or so were unnecessary. Indeed I have noted a 90 minute version of this film, which would seem to suggest somebody has cut out some of the superfluous scenes, which, generally, would be dead against my principles with almost any film.
However, do not misunderstand me: I would see this film again as it has many sensitive scenes skillfully handled.
Slightly above seven out of ten on my scale.
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