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It's difficult for me to review a Spanish film... in English. That's the thing with cultural imperialism, I guess: it's a symptom of how many projects tend do disappear or be disregarded only because they've been done in a language other to English. Apart from my opinion on how IMDb.com works, this is a perfect introduction to this film. Many of the comments not only on this website but around the net compare this with the typical Hollywood blockbuster on every level: acting, special effects, screen writing, budget, etc... It doesn't escape my attention that I'm doing the same right now.
Make no mistake: this is not an independent project. Official Spanish cinema has to watch its money a lot, and this film does that. Probably, money likes at the core of many creative decisions taken while preparing this film. There is a very small group of performers, and the sci-fi gets lost in so many natural landscapes. There is something abstract about the mystery: there is no enemy, no psycho-killer which has decided to terminate with everybody, it's just a kind of psychological desperation which causes people to fade into oblivion and just disappear. Specially ridiculous was the case of the biker who just fades onto thin air, leaving the wheels of her bike moving. So no blood or difficult stunts to perform, probably less repetition on the performers' sides when filming. The only scene in which x-effects are visible is in the scene of the fallen plane. They're static, though. Only part of the scenery.
What remains is a slow-pace which reminded me of The Sixth Sense, and a plot which leaves plenty of questions to decide on part of the audience. For all that, I liked it to a certain extent. I've seen much worse, but also much better. It's a good effort by Spanish cinema industry, at a certain levels much better that the typical Hollywood cr*p which rules the box office.
Original concepts of the artists
What I like most about this reality / talent show is that the audience comes to see the point of view of the artist of their own and other's works. Even when the piece of art is a failure in my opinion or in the judges' opinion, I can always see that there was an original concept behind that piece of work. The artists try to come out with good ideas, but sometimes the work gets diluted, or it escalates out of hand, or its realization is not eventually as good as it sounded beforehand.
I also think there was much more variety of skills in the first season. By including performance art of several types, the programme spread the word about several artists whose art didn't usually show up in museum exhibitions. I can remember that there was even an architect.
This programme has made art coming from young or not so young up-and- coming artists available to a wider section of the public. I live in a very small town without big museums nearby, and a huge lack of cultural life, and the programme has succeeded in making available several present-day art movements and artists which I would have never heard of otherwise.
Reality of immigration. (*spoilers*)
It's not a bad film. What I liked most about it is that I was expecting a kind of Alien on the sea funfair, but then it turned out to be quite interesting.
The main plot is about how the crew of a cargo freighter decides to throw overboard every single illegal immigrant they find because of the high fines they would be charged otherwise. This may be based on reality, because some years ago, there were political talks in Spain concerning lorry drivers travelling from countries like Morocco to Europe: the drivers would be fined heavily if any immigrant would try to pass through the border hidden in their vehicles.
The idea was scrapped for good (thank god), but this film just explores that concept. What would happen if somebody simply decided that there is no way they were going to pay such a fine?
It's not that I didn't like this episode: all the parents are delirious, each one in their own way. I laughed about it, and it's become one of my favourite with time.
Larry and the "adventure" with the cake is good fun, though a bit predictable.
However, I think it's sad that Robin can't marry Chrissy in the end. I thought he was going to wreck the wedding at the court somehow and that he would run away with her, but nothing of that sort happened, which was really disappointing for me. Even the kiss in the middle of the reception, in front of all the speechless guests, shows that they have a chemistry between them, a certain kind of love and much more communication that Chrissy has (or ever will have) with Norman.
I don't understand why the script-writers didn't end the series with a happy ending which would have left me much more merry and interested.
Sorority Girl (1957)
Sabra and Mrs Tanner
I liked this film so much! When I saw the cheesy hardback of the video, I thought this movie was going to be much worse. I liked it especially when Sabra tries to put a stop to herself and all the damage she is doing to other people. When she tries to open her heart to her mother, and she refuses to listen, I feel that one understands why Sabra does what she does. I think that Sabra's relationship with her mother makes the film much subtler, more realistic and psychologically accurate. Their two family meetings are the best part of the film -in my opinion, of course- and I really felt sorry when all her previous schemes are laid open for everybody to see. From now on she'll be the school outcast, and nobody is going to be her friend -in case she won't be expelled-, and I felt so sorry for her... She could have become a normal human being, but nobody listened to her cries of desperation.
Such a romantic story...
I like this film so much! Believe me: I'm the person who has the world record of hating romantic films, but this one has really touched my heart.
I see it as a realistic kind of love story. Life and different circumstances force both lovers Santi and Diana to postpone the moment when they can be together forever. At the beginning, it looks like Santi is hooked on somebody who is much powerful and resourceful and who doesn't really need him, but as time goes by the audience can appreciate how much they love each other, no matter how different they are, how their divergent social backgrounds push them apart or whatever circumstances come in their way. Both need that love in their lives, although life being as it is, it insists in keeping them apart. Diana marries well: for her money and a good social position are part of her identity as a person, and for him, his profession is something really important: he's had to fight his way to the top, and he's not going to destroy his professional life -something he's fought so hard to have- to the rubbish bin. It's natural and it happens many times in real life: when people grow older, they mature, and many people become sadder and regretful with lost opportunities, what-could-have-been's and the grim realities of life like routine and mortgages.
Of course there are good fun moments, but the anxiety of their separation and the loss of years make both them a bit melancholic. The scene which presents John Lennon's death is tender, and it means so much for the main characters, and it's a really touching moment.
Reform School Girl (1957)
Not bad at all.
I expected a really bad film. The cheesy photograph in the cover of the DVD package didn't announce any great findings. Obviously, the film is low-budget, but this time it didn't equal with terribly bad.
I liked the script. The film had good rhythm, the characters were either extremely good or bad, the action was interesting, there were touches at the psychology of the girls... Many scenes take place at the reform school, but Donna's flat, the courtroom, the flat of Vince's girlfriend, there is even a very short scene at the workplace of the aunt's boyfriend... make it more varied for my taste. I also liked outdoors scenes: the run-over, Vince asking for directions when he's after Jack... I liked them because I don't usually appreciate films which look like theatre plays and all the action happens in just one location.
It's an interesting and probably an underestimated film, which in fact I liked. I didn't know the director, the script-writer, the main actress (Gloria del Castillo, which sadly didn't have much success in Hollywood), but some other actresses would become well-known with time, Luana Anders and especially Sally Kellerman. Maybe they are not at their best here, because they were just beginning their careers, and they'd become much better but everybody has to begin somewhere, and this was a flick to be proud of.