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Daniel Sánchez Arévalo
Antonio de la Torre,
Based on his excellent "The Weakness of the Bolshevik", we were looking forward to Manuel Martin Cuenca's film "Half of Oscar". Alas, we must think we are masochist having caught Jaime Rosales "Solitary Fragments" the day before on an international cable channel. Like Rosales' film, "Half of Oscar" is a film that can drive even the most tolerant fan to drink!
The film consists of basically the same scene repeated ad nauseum without making much sense. Oscar, the security guard of a salt mine oversees his terminally ill grandfather. Not a word is spoken since the older man is hardly conscious. Evidently, the only relative is his sister Maria who lives in France. As death appears imminent, Oscar calls Maria to come. She arrives with her boyfriend and a surprise: she is pregnant.
After the grandfather dies, there is nothing for Maria to do in town, so she and Jean, the boyfriend, are going back to their life in Paris. We watch Oscar suddenly become despondent after realizing she will leave him again. It is at the last moment we realize there is much more going on between the siblings than really met the eye. On the way to see Maria for the last time, Oscar hails a taxi to take him to the hotel. The driver is a chatter box who annoys Oscar.
Manuel Martin Cuenca and his script collaborator Alejandro Hernandez, probably had the best intentions with this film. What they got is a static film that goes nowhere. There are too many unresolved issues that are too many to count. Some of the Spaniard directors might be intellectually ahead of their counterparts in other parts of the world, but what they fail to understand is the fact that hermetic tale, such as this, will bore an audience since it asks too much from the viewer, let alone there is no pleasure watching scenes that add up to nothing.
The only redeeming feature in the film is the excellent photography by Rafael De La Uz.
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