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A Galician Wedding Day: Highly Combusitble!

5/10
Author: gradyharp from United States
24 November 2007

For starters the audience must be aware of the fact that this is a film that is part of the DOGME 95 Movement, described as follows: 'the goal of the Dogme collective is to purify film-making by refusing expensive and spectacular special effects, post-production modifications and other gimmicks. The emphasis on purity forces the filmmakers to focus on the actual story and on the actors' performances. The audience may also be more engaged as they do not have overproduction to alienate them from the narrative, themes, and mood' - superficial action such as murders, no special lighting and must be in color, film must be shot on location with hand held cameras, director must not be credited, etc. Given these restrictions the story and the action of DIAS DE BODA ('WEDDING DAYS') seem much more immediate and the lapses in fluidity of the story can be forgiven - to a point.

The story is a strange on: it is the wedding day of writer Rosendo (Monti Castiñeiras) and Sonia (Comba Campoy) and one confused family this is! Rosendo has been lovers with Sonia's father Alejandro (Ernesto Chao) whose wife Josefina (Belén Constenla) is aware of her wealthy husband's extramarital infidelities. Rosendo also has an ex-lover Nacho (Miguel Insua) who shows up at the wedding to create tension. Rosendo's variegated love life seems to be centered on his need to succeed as one of Spain's most famous writers and everyone in the wedding party is a means to an end for the conflicted Rosendo. A bit of superstition is added by Rosa (Rosa Alvarez) the lesbian sister of Sonia who reads much of the future in her Tarot cards. A film producer Fernando (Javier Gurruchaga) and his mistress Beatriz (Pilar Saavedra) add to the confusion with their own crusty relationship. As the wedding proceeds the various secrets come into the open and how the families of the couple and the Rosendo and Sonia respond to the confrontations that shape their futures winds the story to a somewhat confusing end.

Juan Pinzás is the writer and 'director' of this dysfunctional group and even more dysfunctional wedding and working within the confines of Dogme 95 he manages to come up with some fairly strong statements. The cast is strong enough to carry the 'conceptual roles' and there are many moments that are absorbing. This film is no competition with the other Dogme 95 films ('Festen', 'Italian for Beginners', 'Mifune's Last Song', etc) but it does take some chances with subject matter that do make a difference. Filmed in Galicia with the language of the region, the end product on DVD is dubbed in the more often used form of Spanish and subtitled in English. This quirk detracts from the impact of the drama. Dogme 95 may have supporters but it is doubtful the concept will endure. It is an interesting experiment but takes a lot of concentration form the viewer to lift it from the level of telenovella! Grady Harp

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1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

I guess that I still have a future

Author: (gneidisch) from Hamburg
16 October 2003

I was in the Lesbian/Gay Hamburg Film Festival watching this movie, for I love Dogma films and for other reasons as well. I need to say that I'm a sort of dreamer film-maker and I always say that I will do some cinema for my own pleasure. And after seeing this film I only consider: I STILL HAVE A FUTURE. Making a Dogma film is easy? Seems to be. For this director is just giving freedom to the actors: if they were bad actors, this film would have been wors than it is already. Let us take the first Dogma: Festen. Plot: in one party a lot of truth is coming out for making the celebration unforgettable and a bit uncomfortable. But Vittenberg is a good director (or he uses a good method?), and Pinzas... a good director, but... but... "Dias De Boda" is the same: in one party a lot of truth is coming out for making the celebration unforgetable and a lot uncomfortable, somehow even for the viewer. Not even the dialogs are strong enough! But that woman, Pilar Saavedra, rescues the film with her gestures, her body, her bitchy behaviour and her dancing scene, perhaps the most entertaining of the complete film. The rest: one gallega copy of Festen, with less pain, with less humour and silly arguments for making it... diferent: the party is a wedding in wich the groom hides his homo-attraction for his father in low, and one of his ex-lovers who attends the party, with the best girl-friend of the groom... some cocaine, some galleguish jokes, a lesbian auntie and a lusty old couple are part of the spices...

I enjoyed it, as I said, makes me think that I still have a future. I'll lend a dv-cam and I'll go to Northern Germany to film people having a barbecue speaking in a german dialect and then I'll ommit my name in the credits....

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