|Index||3 reviews in total|
The writer-directors introduced this film at the London Film Festival,
and encouraged the audience to look to the film for the emotion rather
than action, and to value the silences as well as the dialogue.
This is fitting advice for a film that is full of emotion - mostly loss and longing it seemed - and where the silences really are as important as the words. This is not just a film about the train route, as its characters and story lines are universal - it challenges viewers to consider how similar they are to those on the screen.
The project started off as a documentary, but the directors decided to turn it into a fiction film. Whilst it does have a feel of a film that has evolved, the story lines are more developed and rounded than many comparable projects. Some of the actors are clearly not seasoned professionals, but this doesn't detract from the qualities of the film.
The directors said that being from Salamanca, the characters with an inability to talk about emotions most resembled themselves - however they have managed to express on screen these character traits in a very revealing and challenging film.
I saw the movie last night at its premiere in Madrid. As I prefer to go
unbiased, I had not read about it and hardly knew what it was about.
Technically, some shots seemed a bit awkward and felt like "in this one steady angle, I want to see the name of the bar above plus the table the man is sitting at AND be close to the character's face". At some other points I wondered if the camera was shaking because the cameraman was, or if it was an effect to render the violence of the train passing by. The actors seem to be wearing no "movie" make-up (apart from a man in a Rover with eye-liner), which ads to the realism and the "day-to-day" aspect (does he really have spots on his face? Were they made up? Did they choose to leave them?)
The pace of the movie is rather slow and I felt some scenes could have been shorter. You sometimes have the feeling that nothing is going on. And then you wonder if 'anything' is really going to happen. Yet, it does give the sensation you are sharing some of the characters' real lives for a short moment and things do happen and characters do evolve, as you realise at the end of the movie that, even if subrepticely, the characters have gone through an experience that have changed them and made them reconsider part of their lives.
I really enjoyed most of the dialogues. The prostitute at the very beginning felt so very true. There were very nice touches of humour using the absurdity of some situations. However I noticed I was the only one laughing when the young man in a wheel chair replies «pues nada, aquí andando» ("you know, walking around").
By the end of the movie, I did wonder though if it was ever going to end and what conclusion could such a movie have, if any. Yet the end felt logical and natural.
I did not enjoy this film and predict it will not attract a mainstream
Why? While the premise of a story linking people who take the train between Paris and Lisbon intrigued me initially, the story was perhaps a bit too 'real' for me. By real, this means where the content was too much like reality TV. While the shooting style was more conventional, there were cuts between scenes that seemed somewhat abrupt visually (i.e. it seemed like a scene of a single person was edited to cut out all the boring bits. The result is the 'jump' when a person is standing somewhere, then jumps to somewhere closeby, but you know it was a re-take. It works, but becomes distracting. The stories seemed very real, not heightened, and perhaps flat. As a result, nothing outstanding or interesting seemed to be told. I didn't get a sense that anything big or dramatic was happening.
Which is probably what the director was trying to do. Some very funny moments, but overall, I would give this a miss unless you have a particular interest in the cultures along the Lisbon to Paris train link. The one thing I did enjoy was the French, Spanish and Portuguese in the movie. This might be the only movie where you could hear all three languages. That was fun for me even though I didn't understand it all.
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