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Non, non, mon cher amour, je ne vous aimais pas!
27 August 2003
No, no, my dearest love... I don't love you!

I was just a teenager when I first saw this film. I really didn't know what to expect of a French movie with unknown actors (at least to me by then), with a story I didn't previously know and with the only reference of some Cesar awards. After all, it was an european movie, it was French, it was based in a classic book and with a romantic theme. But something attracted me.

I was shocked.

Actually it was the first movie I ever went to see to the cinema more than once. I purchased it on VHS as soon as I could, and I am getting it on DVD now that it's available in Spain. After all this time, I know by heart almost every scene of the movie, and it keeps on bringing tears to my eyes in the final scenes, no matter how many times I've seen it.

The movie has so many things so nicely put together, it's almost impossible not to be hooked on some of them.

To begin with, I was very surprised with the fact that the whole movie is spoken in verse. I think it was the first time I had ever seen something like that, and it is probably also the last since I can't remember any other movie like this! I don't know how well it was done in English, but I can say it was translated into Spanish awesomely. I can only wonder how beautiful it is in the original French version. Everything is so musically coherent and adequate, that you really enjoy watching the movie spoken in verse. I loved it.

Then there is the absolutely magnificent performance by Gerard Depardieu. He perfectly resembles at every moment the personality of the eager and sometimes naive but at the same time extremely intelligent, romantic, desperate and vulnerable Cyrano. His physical look, his facial expressions, his voice... everything makes him the perfect Cyrano de Bergerac. You really share his suffering and at the same time you admire its strong personality and determination. He makes Cyrano an admirable man, an enjoyable human being. Wonderful.

Apart from that, there is many more things in this movie that make it absolutely enjoyable. The humor. The sets and props, all the environments created. The music. And the story is an absolute classic that many people will feel related to; the struggle of a man than, even though not physically gifted, wants to live and love with no limits... to the person who is not ready to correspond him. Maybe it's the reason why it was so touching for me when I was a teenager, and maybe that's why it still brings tears to my eyes even today :)

All in all, a beautiful romantic tale with great sets and performances and that will touch almost anyone's hearts. My favourite movie of all time, and definetly a classic.
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The Body (2001)
A good idea, down the toilet
13 January 2001
The Body is an example of how an interesting idea for a movie (the ideological and political implications of the discovery of the body of a crucified man that could be Jesus Christ) can go absolutely wrong. It could have made a really good movie with interesting analysis of the situation, but it is an absolute failure: The script is very bad, with meaningless and forced dialogues. The cinematography and screenplay is very bad too with a lot of repeated and uninteresting shots (no, not that city fly-by again please...) And besides the technical details, there are a lot of senseless and very cheap scenes, and a lot of absurd events (i.e., even though the Israeli authorities are very interested in the matter, sometimes there's guards around the excavation, sometimes when the storyline needs it there are none... and I could go on...) There's no rythm, there's nothing... it's like any cheap TV telefilm.

The acting is quite bad too. However not as bad as the rest of the movie...

All in all, it's really a pity. The movie is boring, technically flawed and very badly directed. Either if you're looking for a thriller (that's the way it's being sold) or a philosophical clip, look elsewhere. It will make quite a lot of cash though, due to the presence of Banderas and a clever marketing campaign that make the movie look really good.
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Not Amenabar.
29 April 2000
Warning: Spoilers
A new genre was created in the Spanish cinema when Alejandro Amenabar presented his two first and great movies, "Tesis" and "Abre los Ojos". They were brilliant movies with some things in common: A thriller with complicated stories, scenes of great visual impact where weird, impossible things happen and leave the viewer breathless, awaiting for the next surprise, but at the same time with brilliantly resolved screenplay and avoiding the cheap "scary" tricks of bad terror movies. Young and relatively unknown actors are also used in both movies, but they perform great, and the movies last in your memory forever.

Some movies have tried to follow this pattern to obtain the same success as Amenabar's. With some good marketing and Amenabar's well rounded work, they have everything to be box-office megahits, and indeed they have been. Some of these movies are "Nadie conoce a Nadie" and "El Arte de Morir". The first one was not bad after all, even though Amenabar's movies were a lot better; but "El Arte de Morir" is really a very VERY bad movie.

The story is very typical and seen before a lot of times; a killer goes after a group of friends, who are killed one by one. Nobody knows who he is and even if it's one of the group members, ala "Scream". (I don't think this is a spoiler since it's what the trailer shows). What tries to make the movie special is some weird events that happen along the movie, which are explained in the ending. But overall, it's a move seen a thousand times. However, that doesn't necessary have to be a bad thing. But also the acting is just horrible (Only María Estevez does an acceptable job and Fele Martinez is disappointing after much better performances in Tesis and Abre los Ojos), the story is quite uninteresting and the ending is plain dull and implausible. Some scenes are absurd, they are often placed in moments of the movie where they do not belong and the killings are... well, boring. Some key factors of the movie are overlooked (Nacho's paintings influenced by El Bosco) and almost everything is undeveloped.

All in all, a really bad movie that will make a lot of money thanks to a good marketing campaign, a nice trailer and the hope of seeing another great "Abre los Ojos". But stop dreaming. It is not. We will have to wait for Amenabar's next movie for that.
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