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December 18, 2007

Shortmetraje, 2006-2007

libra.gifLibra, 2006. A beleaguered woman's plea for a two week adjustment elicits both poignancy and unexpected humor in Carlota Coronado's articulate slice-of-life portrait, Libra. As the woman provides an array of reasons from work-related commitments, to personal sacrifices that have already put a strain on her relationships with family and friends, to conflicting schedules with final examinations that, if missed, would not prevent her from graduating as planned, but also create a financial drain on her already limited resources that would likely cause her to abandon her studies altogether, the film's title serves as a wry, double entendre for the heroine's own quest to find balance in her life.

The Happy Man, 2007. The sound of a 24 hour news station broadcast reporting its usual program of international crises and economic downturns provides an insightful foil to Lucina Gil's The Happy Man, a tongue in cheek biography on a self-described "happy man" whose credentials are put to a test by a team of skeptical international researchers. As in Libra, the slice-of-life approach suits the film's structure well, reflecting the film's ideals of enduring love and uncomplicated living.

avant_petalos.gifAvant pétalos grillados, 2007. Idiosyncratically primitive in its surrealism and impenetrable in its fragmented logic, Velasco Broca's equally humorous and baffling Avant pétalos grillados invariably suffers from its decontextualization from its source, a trilogy entitled Echos der Buchrucken. Visually, the film loosely resembles a parodic, rough hewn, desexualized version of Frans Zwartjes's Pentimento in its clinical images of everyday life at a sanatorium (albeit this time, the clinic apparently doubles as a laundry service) crossed with the metamorphic insect people of Tsitsi Dangrembga's Mother's Day.

Said's Journey, 2007. Coke Riobóo cleverly incorporates the lyrical structure and vibrant palette of traditional animation to create a sobering and incisive gothic fairytale in Said's Journey. Chronicling a young Moroccan boy, Said's unexpected adventure across the Strait of Gibraltar to a Spanish fairground, where Said is soon confronted by the reality of his marginalized status as an immigrant and racial minority, Riobóo tersely, but lucidly exposes the myth of assimilation and cultural integration.

traumatology.gifTraumatology, 2007. When the family patriarch suffers a heart attack in the midst of his eldest son's wedding, the entire wedding party invariably follows him to the hospital, where the bride and groom soon express their second thoughts over their impending marriage, two brothers alternately vie for the affections of the maid of honor, and two younger brothers, lamenting their inability to find girlfriends, begin to question their sexuality. Daniel Sánchez Arevalo's Traumatology is a well rendered, character ensemble film that, despite its relatively short duration (22 minutes), manages to capture the complex texture, intimacy, and irrationality of human relationships.

You Can Walk Too. A writer's disposable comment that a worthwhile female composer is about as common as a dog walking on its hind legs serves as a rallying cry for Cristina Lucas's, You Can Walk Too. Assembling shots of hind leg-walking dogs as they make their way through town before proud owners and bemused onlookers, the film is idiosyncratic and pointedly humorous, but at ten minutes, seems belabored and overextended as a droll, protest piece.

Angel's Fire. A worthy companion piece to the first chapter of Javier Corcuera's The Back of the World on a young boy who makes a living by breaking rocks at a quarry in Peru, Marcelo Bukin's Angel's Fire chronicles a day in the life of eight year old Angel who works at a brick factory in Titicaca, Peru to help support his family. Broaching such fundamental human rights issues as child labor, abuse, and exploitation, the film is an articulate and impassioned portrait on the corrosive effects of poverty and marginalization.

Posted by acquarello on Dec 18, 2007 | | Filed under 2007, Spanish Cinema Now