Very good melodrama , well played , magnificently photographed and competently directed by José Luis Garci
Sensational rendition with extraordinary performances and luxurious scenarios from Asturias . Including an extreme clash of wills and feelings among the obstinate protagonists . Set in a small village in Asturias called "Cencielles" , at the beginning of the twentieth century . There arrives "Urbano" (Alex Gonzalez), who is a good as well as idealistic person to work as a secretary of the Town Hall . After that , he falls in love for Estrella" (Paula Echevarria) , Joaco's (Alfredo Landa) granddaughter , and and he decides to marry her . But the neutrality of "Urbano" before one of the political groups called ¨Los Becerriles¨ led by the nasty Mayor (Vicente Parra) in the Town Hall, originites vengeance and enmity . Shortly after , there takes place a bitter war between two political party's degenerates a tragedy for the couple Urbano and Estrella .
This is an intelligent and thought-provoking drama filmed with great sensitivity and feeling. It's an intelligent and touching story although sometimes is slow moving and tiring but is finely developed with sense of style and sensibility . In the picture are treated ethic and moral themes developed with great sense of fairness and ductility . A rural tragedy in a splendid scenario , dealing with an intense portrait of the rural environment of the era dominated by ¨caciques¨ or ¨Becerriles¨and powerful people against unfortunate villagers called ¨Los Chorizos¨ . Later on , the enjoyable melodrama tranforms into a strong tragedy with sudden bursts of violence , terminating into a terrible vendetta against the couple prior to his wedding . The Asturian scenario, perfectly handled by José Luis Garci in several movies is marvelous and really attractive . I love the peculiar roles of the starring couple : Alex Gonzalez and Paula Echevarria , giving charming interpretations . And other characters as the contenders played by Alfredo Landa , and Carlos Larrañaga are top-notch . Their roles seem written for themselves . As excellent acting by Alfredo Landa as the upright grandfather who will have to face the traumatic truth and choose between honor or pardon . And Vicente Parra as an embittered Mayor who uses the strongest law . Remaining support cast is frankly magnificent , such as : Kiti Mánver , Manuel Galiana , Toni Acosta , Enrique Villén , Francisco Algora ,Mapi Sagaseta and Fernando Guillén Cuervo as the doctor . Besides , exceptional and awesome cinematography by Felix Monti , as is well reflected on the marvelous outdoors of the countryside and brilliant interiors , shot on location in Asturias . Wonderful musical score by Pablo Cervantes plenty of attractive and sensitive sounds and t with haunting leitmotif . Spectacular production design by Gil Parrondo who formerly achieved two Oscars (Patton, Nicholas and Alexandra).
The motion picture was stunningly directed by Jose Luis Garci ,. It is a film by Jose Luis Garci that has achieved a big success. Garci has left a distinguished talent in his successful movies throughout the years as El Crack I, II, Volver a empezar , Solos en la madrugada , Herida Luminosa , Las verdes praderas . He won one Academy Award for ¨Volver a Empezar¨ , it was the first Spanish entry to win the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language film, . After his Oscar win in 1983 for Best Foreign Language Film with Volver a empezar (1982), he received three further nominations in that category with Sesión continua (1984), Asignatura aprobada (1987) and El abuelo (1998), making him the most-nominated Spanish director in that category . Rating : Better than average and well worth seeing.
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