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Astronauts (2003)
"Astronautas" (original title)

 |  Comedy, Drama  |  5 March 2004 (Spain)
6.9
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Ratings: 6.9/10 from 314 users  
Reviews: 6 user | 6 critic

Daniel is approaching forty. Laura is fifteen... almost sixteen. From what they say about him he must be a poet or a comic-strip illustrator, or both. He has just overcome a long addiction ... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Nancho Novo ...
Daniel
Teresa Hurtado de Ory ...
Laura (as Teresa Hurtado)
Juan Motilla ...
Pastor Juan Manuel
...
Torta
Jons Pappila ...
Indie
Manolo Solo ...
Lorenzo
Enrico Vecchi ...
Italiano
...
Andrés
Isaías Cara ...
Pastor Nemesio
...
Silvia
Manolo Rodríguez ...
Conserje
Rafael Manati ...
Guardia de seguridad
Manuel López Ruiz ...
Viejo Puerto
Miguel Alcíbar ...
Dueño lavandería
Mercedes Almarcha ...
Enfermera
Edit

Storyline

Daniel is approaching forty. Laura is fifteen... almost sixteen. From what they say about him he must be a poet or a comic-strip illustrator, or both. He has just overcome a long addiction and, once back home, is trying to recongnize his life based on a strategy which consists basically in DOING EXACTLY WHAT A "NORMAL" PERSON DOES. Everything that happens to Daniel is, more or less, foreseeable because that's what it's all about: he should look after his personal grooming, take care of the small things, immerse himself in the real world... and so on until he has completed the ten small achievements in his manual, a set of COMMANDMENTS devised by an insipid public health system psychiatrist. And, in the midst of all this, an unexpected happening: Laura arrives in the city searching for her brother Andres, Daniel's neighbor. But the brother is not home and she decides to wait for him, while organizing around Daniel what could be his "perfect world". Written by Cristina Sutherland

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

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Release Date:

5 March 2004 (Spain)  »

Also Known As:

Astronaftes  »

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2.35 : 1
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User Reviews

 
Ground control to Major Tom (In space)...
20 September 2005 | by (Argentina) – See all my reviews

Some time ago I talked about Spanish cinema and about its quality in terms of horror cinema. I said that it didn't live up to the hype of what they do now in the United States. But I didn't talk about any other genre, and I have explained how much I like films done in this country. Filmmakers tend to make movies that are very personal. Directors commit to such point that any movie seems to be their first and, even when it is shown across the whole country, seems like an independent feature.

Santi Amodeo's film, "Astronautas" ("Astronauts") starts as something difficult to comprehend, with a man walking alone in some place similar to a forest, then talking to some men who won't let him go and one minute later running away as a desperate animal that looks for a new life. The truth is that the man is indeed in the search of a new life. We learn he is named Daniel (called "Dani" by the people who know him) and that he is following a Decalogue, because he wants to desintoxicate himself. Now he is in an apartment, painting, cleaning, eating healthy… With Dani alone in his new life, the movie reminds of "Cast Away", because of the situation and the work the main actor's performance needs. I'm comparing a Spanish actor named Nacho Novo with Tom Hanks, but well…Hanks ended up in an island, when he was an office worker, and we can perfectly notice he has no clue about staying alive in these terms, so he has to make sacrifices for that objective; and makes friends with a ball, catches an eats fish, makes fires…Hanks' performance is wonderful.

And although from another continent, Novo's performance is wonderful too. You realize how tiring is for him to paint the house and do all the things he has to, because you can tell he once lived in the streets and consumed drugs by just looking at his face. Now his only company are two dogs that follow him everywhere and the other axis of the story, a 15-year old named Laura (newcomer and natural Teresa Hurtado), who after a series of events, crashes in his housing. The good thing about the screenplay is that when it is extremely hard for him, Dani really wants to change; for good.

For example, Laura likes him but he knows he can't even think about getting involved with a girl her age; until he realizes she could be useful for some of the steps of the Decalogue. The thing with the Decalogue's steps is that we don't know them all, only Dani does. We find out what they say when the movie senses it convenient, and that's great, because we can imagine all of Dani's thoughts. Telling steps, or telling Dani's progress in his new phase would be ruining your experience of the movie, but I'll say that in one scene, Laura sees some things she shouldn't have, which hurries up some events.

Director Santi Amodeo masters everything incredibly; from the beginning sequence, with a lot of sarcasm and intelligence, to the "Buffalo 66"-esque ending. His camera moves a lot when lots or things are happening, and in other occasions, when everything is quiet, it stays still, changing shots, as a photo camera that takes pictures. There's a marvelous thing about the music, too. It is all original by Amodeo, who also wrote the film, and a band called Lavadora. It manages to reflect each part of the film with each song, and the camera makes everything go round and round when songs start playing. About the title, I believe it is "Astronauts" because of the men in space Dani drew in his Decalogue; or maybe because he is so far away from himself and the rest of the world, almost to become unrecognizable.


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