As the story begins, we are taken to Viena and Daniel's home. It is obvious from the moment we hear their conversation the couple is in trouble. What is more puzzling is the person who is in another part of the loft recording their conversation. We wonder, what's going on here? Are Viena and Daniel acting for a picture, withing the film, or what gives? As it turns out, the recording "engineer" is none other than Lucas, their son, a young man who gets his kicks by eavesdropping to conversations all around him.
Viena, a successful theater director, is staging a two character Chekhov play done in an unusual setting. She is having problems with the actress who cannot remember her lines. Daniel, a geriatric doctor in charge of a nursing home, appears to resent his wife's profession, her late hours, as he feels she is pulling away from him. Then, there is Eva, the taciturn nurse at the clinic who has an unusual way of taking care of her patients.
Silvia Munt, an actress, is trying her hand at directing. She also co-wrote the screenplay with Eva Baeza. The result is a film in which there is hardly any affection, much less love, among the characters that populate that rarefied world. It is as though communication does not exist for these doomed people. Ms. Munt's film has that European feeling where angst and gloom play a big part in the story. There mood is somber with a lack of humor among the people that populate the world depicted.
Ms. Munt, who plays Viena, is a good actress, who perhaps should have left the directing job to someone else, concentrating on the woman she is supposed to be in the story. Her Viena is a woman whose life is going away from her without her recognizing it. Daniel is played by Ramon Madaula who perhaps fare better because it is clear he is still in love with the woman he married, although he doesn't know how to solve the situation. Laia Marull appears as Eva, a time bomb waiting to explode. Ms. Marull does a wonderful portrayal of the confused soul that has not found love in her life. The great Manuel Alexandre is seen as one of the patients in the nursing home.
Technically, "Pretextos" has a great look thanks to its cinematographer, David Omedes, who favors the dark colors that go hand in hand with what is going on in the movie. Eduardo Arbide's music is easy on the ear. One could only wish Silvia Munt good luck in future endeavors.
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