In a city of the north coast of Spain, a young teacher teaches Greek lessons at an elite private school. He is a romantic and melancholy man, who lives alone in the old house of his sailor ancestors on the other side of the bay.
A woman nearing her forties, Andrea Soriana, has always pushed aside personal questions and romantic relationships in pursuit of professional success. Now a major illness forces her to ... See full summary »
Manu Aranguren is the contact person from the Spanish government in the negotiations with terrorist group ETA. But the dialog is influenced by errors and chance, leaving the personal relationships of the negotiators as key to its outcome.
I shall wear my heart upon my sleeve (Iago, Hamlet)
`Night Function' is a piece rather set for a minority of spectators as the broad idea developed is not only extremely personal but also tied to a limited number of people basically categorizable as middle-aged or slightly older, and who can remember the late Franco years and the phase of transition into the democratic era in Spain. On two distinct layers you have the broad concept of the married couple - or ex married couple - carrying out a kind of generalised post-mortem on years gone by, as well as the more personal level of a specific married couple - Lola Herrera and Daniel Dicenta - having a heavily laden and regretful dialogue over what went wrong in their own marriage some years after having separated. Lola Herrero, actress, mother of two, forty-six years old, is performing the rôle of Carmen Sotillo in Miguel Delibe's brilliant little masterpiece `Cinco Horas con Mario' (Five Hours with Mario) in a theatre in Madrid in the early eighties, some twenty years after having married Daniel Dicenta, also an actor. In her changing-room she has a long conversation with her exhusband, basically trying to find out what went wrong, where did their love go, what happened to sabotage and shipwreck their lives together. That sounds like a rather set piece, but it is not so: only certain broad outlines were prepared, but there was no prepared script. The two actors did not even know where the five or six (I counted) cameras were hidden, including through mirrors from adjacent rooms. The two actors did not act: they bared their souls and minds and held a genuine conversation over the failings of their marriage, how she never had an orgasm and her pretending greatly deceived her exhusband. Through real tears and pathos the couple held a deep and wounding conversation, one which they should have had before separation and divorce loomed up in their lives. Intermittently there are flashbacks to certain episodes in their lives, and especially to scenes from "Cinco Horas con Mario", originally a novel that has been transformed - reasonably successfully - into a play: Carmen accompanies her dead husband beside his coffin, passes the night remembering their past life together, full of constant reproaches. It is one of the most brilliant pieces of literature to come out of Spain in the last hundred years. Teodoro (Teo) Escamilla's careful camera work is excellent, and fortunately there is little music by Alejandro Massó as mostly there are fragments of Beethoven. This film is not for dubbing, perhaps may be not even subtitling: it must be seen in the original Spanish and by people whose knowledge of this language is reasonably sound. It is a very personal film, not for general audiences. But for people who can grasp the essentials of deeply personal situations at a specific time in recent history and in a specific place, the film can be a rewarding hour and a half.
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