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A lesbian, an aspiring actor, an aspiring singer, a low-class marriage, a neighborhood community and 2 renowned directors have memorable less-than-24-hour-long experiences while living in/visiting the capital of Cuba.
The teenager artist Ana is raised in Ibiza by her German father Klaus in a naturalist lifestyle in a cave. One day, she meets a woman called Justine that invites Ana to move to Madrid, offering education and economical support, to live in an old house with other artists having classes of Arts and with the only commitment of studying. Ana befriends her mate Linda (Bebe) and falls in love for the problematic Said, having her first sexual experience with him. After a period together, Said leaves Ana, and then she is hypnotized by Anglo, discovering her past lives and deaths. Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
If you don't know Medem - and it seems the history of film has largely bypassed him, much like Raoul Ruiz - he's magical, with stories about stories sliding into memory and yearning. Love is his theme. His camera paints with music. Fiery duende. He's a more deeply felt Ruiz in this way. He had made two more successful films leading up to this that you should absolutely see, then come to this.
It starts in a slightly clumsy way with a father and daughter living remotely in an island, then schematic in an artistic commune where she goes, but soon you see what he's capable of. From about when she meets the Berber boy until she arrives at New York he soars. This part incidentally mirrors his previous two.
It starts with the scene of their meeting in painting class; her painting clearly a sparrow in a corner of her painting that he painted elusively as just shape in his, his texture of the painting as primal as the desert he comes from, the inexplicable urge that takes over her, you can see Medem soar here. The whole is about tumultuous urges in the soul that rush to the surface, carrying with them memory, image, contact, consciousness of something larger. It is about having known him in a cosmic way, before this specific affair started, as having always suffered for him, this is how deeply Medem portrays.
And it always starts again from the middle, with him always already gone from her. Medem employed a similar device in Lucia. It's halfway in that we get this, the cinematic device that gives the story its specific shape of sliding visions. She's being hypnotized to remember. The thing to glean is that she's the one swimming into urges that heave around her, has been since the very first scene. We get the searching for him (he has mysteriously vanished) as searching across different lives, dying innumerable deaths. Selves within selves.
This has always been Medem's force; the ability to take love, make love so deep, it becomes what this life has always been about since the very start, meeting this person. Before and after blend. Urge rushes out both ways from a center in the middle. No one does deep love better, not even Malick.
But then something happens and it slips from him. You'll note quite clearly - we shift from this affair, from love shuffled by chance time, to broader elegy of womanhood. Fiery, quietly enduring the ills of mankind. Man is now more than this Berber boy she met one day, it's a child she had taken from her in the desert, a father who took off on a boat, an Indian chieftain who slayed her. That was also the time of the Iraq war so we get an angry vignette against the warmongers.
But now every new allusion jars, falls apart. It takes breath of life out and puts symbolic motif in - the woman as goddess and as mother of humanity. It does away with love we might have known and gives something broader but without anchor.
The film is dedicated to his sister Ana, then recently departed. The set of paintings we see throughout are hers, from an exhibition she was about to stage. It may be that he had already started work on this as one thing (or the story idea pre-existed) and it morphed to something else.
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