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A brilliant plastic surgeon, haunted by past tragedies, creates a type of synthetic skin that withstands any kind of damage. His guinea pig: a mysterious and volatile woman who holds the key to his obsession.
Pilar Miró is rather like a complicated irregular verb difficult to conjugate. Having directed only 10 films up to her sudden death, Ms. Miró left for us a few films which can be highly appreciated: `El Perro del Hortelano', `Beltenebros' and `El Crimen de Cuenca'. However, `Tu Nombre Envenena mis Sueños' is rather a long way from this category. Ms. Miró in the first named films showed she was very well able to place us in a historical context and/or in a period piece setting with an excellent eye for detail in her scene-building, costuming and so on.
But in `Tu Nombre Envenena mis Sueños' everything misfires rather awkwardly. Whether this is due to Joaquín Leguina's novel not being the most appropriate vehicle for putting on screen, may well be very debatable, or whether Ms. Miró's evident irregularity in her film-making is to blame. Even with the help of Ricardo Franco (`Lágrimas Negras')(qv) as co-scriptwriter, the film just does not manage to clamber out of being somewhat mediocre.
Perhaps part of the blame can be identified by there having been too many Spanish films in the last twenty five years which have resorted to using the Franco Era and the Civil War for the basis of the story or simply as some kind of irritating scapegoat. You cannot keep on raking up old burnt out ashes indefinitely, especially if you do not have anything new to say. Therein lies my quibble for this film: `Tu Nombre Envenena mis Sueños' backfires uncomfortably. Neither José Nieto's excellent music nor Maestro Javier Aguirresarobe's superb cinematography could save this noir' thriller from sinking into something rather unstomachable.
Carmelo Gómez and Emma Suárez were neither inspired nor inspiring: one just could not care less what became of them. Gómez has also been rather irregular: fine in Armendáriz's `Secretos del Corazón' (qv), and acceptable in `El Perro del Hortelano', and weak in `Mararía' (qv). Emma Suárez was very good in `Pintadas' (qv) as well as in `El Perro del Hortelano', and acceptable enough in a number of other films; but in this last film by Ms. Miró, Gómez and Suárez together (again) just did not convince; the chemistry was lacking, the acting seemed nor more than ritual habit.
A body mysteriously turns up in El Retiro, Madrid's central park, and from there gabardined men playing detectives stroll around cemeteries and lugubrious bars and around dutifully attired Emma Suárez in totally unbefitting 1936 hair-do. Dancing couples prance around the dance-floor totally unsynchronised to the popular song `Mi Jaca', or go through mechanised movements vaguely related to the `Tango'. In any case, I might just as well have been watching a film about Elliot Ness.
If you want to see Spanish Cinema, you can pass this one up; it has nothing to offer apart from its music and photography.
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