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Colloquially-told story of a few days in the life of Marieta, who's saving money for the last operation in her change from man to woman. She works as a prostitute in Madrid and longs for a legitimate job. Whenever she builds up her savings, her housemate and best friend Tomás finds ways to spend, lose, or cost her those funds. She meets Raúl, whom she likes and who likes her; the trouble is he also likes that part of her she wants removed. If that's not enough, she also has narcolepsy, and when she conks out, she dreams of musical-theater numbers in which she's the singing and dancing star. Are these dreams always going to be 20 centimeters out of reach? Written by
After a promising short film ("Hongos") and an excellent feature length debut ("Piedras"), director-writer Ramón Salazar surprises all with "20 centímetros", a compelling musical which won't leave anyone indifferent.
Certainly this is not for all tastes. Instead of taking the easy way out of mixing musical and comedy, Salazar chooses drama and depicts the sub-world of prostitution with such a raw perspective that many people felt extremely uncomfortable during the film. "20 centímetros" is, after all, the love child of Von Trier's "Dancer in the dark" and early Almodóvar. As I said, not for all tastes.
Mónica Cervera, who was in Salazar's previous directorial efforts, is the star of the film, and she really shines in her one-woman-show. She sings her heart out and gives a terrific performance as Marieta, the transvestite hooker who dreams musical sequences in which she is the sole star. Other cast members include Lola Dueñas, Rossy de Palma and Najwa Nimri in brief roles, and also Pilar Bardem in a cameo. Unknowns Concha Galán and Miguel O'Dogherty play pivotal roles in this eclectic musical. Pablo Puyol, Marieta's leading man, plays Reponedor, a simpleton, gracefully and shows that he could surprise everybody if he's given the right chance.
What I liked most were the musical numbers, though. Some of them are extremely effective in narrative terms "Parole, parole, parole", and others are so well made that it doesn't matter if they don't add anything story-wise ("Quiero ser santa" is a prodigy of make-up, scenery and costume). My favorite, however, is the one in which Marieta and Reponedor sing a song each at the same time.
If you are willing for something new give "20 centímetros" a chance, specially if you like musicals and you are not afraid to watch some of the most marginal strata of our society. Also, watch it for the great performance of Mónica Cervera, an actress that could be huge in the future.
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