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When the retired seventy-seven years old hypochondriac widower Fred moves to an apartment in Madrid, his temperamental daughter Cuca has an incident with his next door neighbor, the elder Argentinean Elsa. Later, they meet each other and Elsa seduces Fred with her reckless behavior and view of life and they have a romance. Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
For some reason, this film reminded me of the 1979 film "A Little Romance" except it starred two senior citizens instead of two youngsters. In "A Little Romance" two young kids fall in love and runaway to Venice with the help of and old con artist. The young girl is played by Diane Lane, while the con artist is played by Laurence Olivier.
I don't know why "Elsa and Fred" took so long for this film to reach the U.S., but I finally saw it in Orange County, California, just last week. It's a warm and touching film largely due to the two main characters. Both of them (Elsa and Fred) are living alone in adjacent Madrid apartments. Fred is withdrawn and still getting used to being a widower. He is a very practical, straight-laced gentleman. In contrast, Elsa lives in a fantasy world conjured up by her dreams of someday wading in the Trevi Fountain in Rome ala Fellini's "La Dolci Vita." She a persistent liar, risk taker and bold adventuress. She gradually draws Fred out of his shell and into her world. Who says that there can't be romance after 70?!
The two actors who play Elsa and Fred are remarkable. Their dialogues and facial expressions give their characters real depth, tenderness and life. Their years as seniors gradually whither away in the film as they slowly fall in love and become "teenagers" again figuratively speaking. The theme of "Trevi Fountain" runs throughout the film from the beginning during the credits until the very end.
Yes, Americans can enjoy this foreign film. I certainly did!
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