I was introduced to Jhonny Obando during an audition for my film, "Refuge of Dragonflies" at the Palm Beach Film School. I subsequently cast him as Quasimodo and learned that he was a student in the Miami Film School, a sister school of the one in West Palm Beach run by Executive Producer Jim York. We completed our student films at about the same time in 2008, albeit in different cities.
Jhonny's film "Suddenly the Sunrise" starts with evocative, clear, piano music accompanied by a title card that reads, "For all those who have lost something along the way" in Spanish and English. Immediately, I was swept up into the mystery and poetry of Latin America. I love foreign films, in part, because the rhythm of the language accompanied by the subtitles gives the films a poetry that one cannot capture in any better way. It transcends reading a poem, or watching a film in one's own language, requiring a reading brain, and a visual brain, and a hearing brain. It excites because it requires active participation.
And so, this film had me from the first music cue and title card. I was further drawn into the story by the charismatic and sincere performances of the two leads, played by Cecilia and Edgar. They are at once sexy, innocent, troubled. The performances are hot and cold simultaneously. They blossom even as they investigate obstacles in the relationship of husband and wife, spirit and body, faith and God. Their union is just out of reach, and I find that very sad, and very satisfying, because it is so real. All the while there is the poetry of the Spanish language heightened by the subtitles and a haunting score by Liby Rubio and Antonio La Rosa.
One of many standout moments is the entrance of a fighting couple on the street played by Victoria and Fernando. It's one of those moments we've all experienced while in an intense studyphysically, emotionally, mentallywith our belovedsomething or somebody breaks the spell. The harsh street argument not only serves as a reminder for Cecilia and Edgar about flare ups in their own past, but it engages us to reflect on the last argument we had with our earthly beloved. The music, the images, the acting invite us to soften our internal frustrations. After all, don't we all want perfect union with our Beloved? What could possibly make us so angry as to accept anything less?
Jhonny's film is not perfect. Cecilia's obstacles are piled one on another, so that the script comes close to collapsing in melodrama. The climax is clumsy, and lacks the imagination and poetry of most of the film. And what was with the final credits repeated?
This critique attempts to explain what is so effortlessly revealed. "Sunrise" is a great revelation to me, (and a great relief), to find so much talent that is authentic. In repeated viewings, I feel that the director and his company couldn't possibly not have made this film. Viva Cinema Latino Americano!
0 of 0 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?