Álvaro is a man from Sevilla (Andalucía, south to Spain). Poor and clumsy, without imagination and inspiration to write, he works as accountant in a notary and he is married with Amanda, who unexpectedly became famous after to write her first novel. Dreaming with to make the great novel of all times and surpass Amanda, Álvaro goes to night class of literature, asking help to the teacher José in order to find the keys to make it. After discovering Amanda being unfaithful with another man, Álvaro is suggested by his boss Don Alfonso to make a little vacations. Moving to a new building, Álvaro passes the days trying to write in an insistently and obsessively way, with any success. Meeting his new neighbors, among them are Enrique and Irene (two Mexican immigrants with money troubles by the imminent dismissal of Enrique of his work), Sr. Montero (an old man and former military, with extreme right-wing ideas from the old Franco's Regime), and the caretaker of the building, an unsatisfied ...Written by
Who the hell is this James? And Rose? What the hell is up with them? All this has no soul. It has no soul, because you don't know what the hell you're talking about ! You don't know what the hell you're talking about ! The reality is out there. I've told you all a thousand times, roll your sleeves up, get out there, look around for stories. How many times did I tell you that?
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A suspenseful story revolving around literary inspiration.
"El Autor" (English title: "The Motive") is a Spanish film dealing with a subject that has been explored by cinema directors a number of times, artistic, and more specifically an author's, inspiration. Javier Gutiérrez ( "El Desconocido", "La Isla Minima") delivers a low-key, subtle performance as Alvaro, a middle-aged, recently separated from his wife aspiring author who is devoted to a seminar on creative writing, given by Juan, played by Antonio de la Torre ("Que Dios Nos Perdone", "El Reino"). Much to his frustration, Alvaro's cheating wife is already an acclaimed author and her books are published and well-sold in Spain. This fact makes our protagonist all the more eager to make a difference, find his own literary voice and write a novel that will prove to everybody, and above all his wife, that he is not a bigheaded loser. In order to do so, Alvaro rents an apartment in a block of flats and begins spying on his neighbors, learning things about them either by gossiping with the landlady or simply by eavesdropping through the walls. He intends to build the dialogues and the plot based on those real people and during that endeavor he will soon find out that he is able to do something more, to manipulate them so he can become a kind of puppet master.
There is a slow build-up to the story with a nice, though not unforeseen. twist in the ending that serves as the film's climax and it is effective as well as appropriate since it is aligned with the movie's overall style and atmosphere. "El Autor" is not a heavy, pompous crime/thriller like other recent Spanish productions, it is a rather light-hearted
flick that will make you laugh in many parts and moreover a study on the lengths that a striving author can go in order to find inspiration. The director is Manuel Martín Cuenca ("Cannibal", "Half of Oscar"), a peculiar auteur who dares to experiment with a variety of subjects and narrative techniques, though this one is a rather straightforward attempt to a clever, lightweight crime/thriller.
Overall, I would recommend "El Autor" to anyone having a slow, long night ahead and wants to be entertained without being imposed with over-complicated stories and plotlines. Spanish cinema is still one of the best in Europe today and its productions are always a treat to all cinema-lovers.
NOTE: The movie is based on the titular novel by Javier Cercas ("Soldados de Salamina")
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