Each viewer is alone, with their own questions, in front of this excellent drama about how dangerous certainties are.
Rating: **** (Excellent)
Original title: Doubt. Release year: 2008. Genre: Drama. Direction: John Patrick Shanley. Screenplay: John Patrick Shanley based on his own play. Actors: Meryl Streep, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Adams, Viola Davis.
There was a time when certainties began to run out. And it was no longer so easy to know what was right or what was wrong. It is at this time, in the fall of 1964, that this extraordinary film entitled Doubt takes place. Father Flynn, who understands the new world, who delivers politically charged sermons, who tries to make compassionate the arrogant students of the Saint Nicholas Church School, in New York, is accused by the strict sister Aloysius Beauvier of having an improper relationship with the only black student in the school. Everything happens behind closed doors: the young professor James believes she has discovered the scandal; tells everything to the terrifying nun Aloysius; and the nun confronts the priest because she is sure of his guilt. But everything happens quietly.
It will be difficult to see a better film than this in the remainder of the year. The address is accurate. The script is impeccable. The performances of its four main actors are second to none. And the images, courtesy of cinematographer Roger Deakins, are as neat and as chilling as those of a convent of those.
Doubt warns, from its title, what the viewer will face. No one, neither on the screen nor in front of it, can take anything for granted. Every suspicion will have some injustice. Each truth will bring a mitigation. Perhaps the idea of its author, playwright John Patrick Shanley, is to remind us that certainties make the world understandable, but lead to horror. I say “perhaps” because everyone is alone in front of this great film.
The famous story by Alberto Méndez has become another decorous film about the dark days of the Spanish civil war.
Rating: *** (Good)
Original title: The blind sunflowers. Release year: 2008. Genre: Drama. Direction: José Luis Cuerda. Screenplay: Rafael Azcona and José Luis Cuerda based on the story by Alberto Méndez. Actors: Maribel Verdú, Javier Cámara, Raúl Arévalo, Fany de Castro, José Ángel Egido, Irene Escolar, David Janer, Carmen Losa, Laura Ponte, Xosé Manuel Olveira.
It’s been a while since a character as disgusting as Father Salvador has been seen in the movies. See him lie. See him offering his wicked services to fragile Elena. See him lose control of his body like a runaway teenager. And, while he abuses that small family cornered by the Franco regime with his little face of a good man who only sins from time to time, while he kills the nerves of that poor woman who has been left alone because of that dictatorship, accept the challenge which from the beginning proposes the estimable Blind Sunflowers: witnessing how a society can let itself be convinced that some are worth less. It will be an uncomfortable experience. It will hurt. It will stir up bad memories. But in the end it will be worth it. The phrase “please God we don’t go back to that” will appear in the head during the following days. And it will be sad to think that just as the protagonist’s husband, the persecuted Ricardo, was left with nothing, many more had to lose everything in that disastrous time.
The Blind Sunflowers, directed by José Luis Cuerda who ten years ago presented his decorous adaptation of The Language of the Butterflies to the world, will go down in history, more than anything, as the last script by Rafael Azcona. The meticulous writer from Logroño, author of more than one hundred librettos, left works such as The Girl with Your Eyes, Belle Epoque and La Vaquilla in the world. It should be said, when describing his legacy, that he was able to capture the daily life of a naive people who believed for fifty years that they had to live grateful to their rulers.
Rude and Corny
Gael García Bernal and Diego Luna are acting together again thanks to this unequal parody of Mexican popular culture.
Rating: **1/2 (Acceptable)
Original title: Rudo y Cursi. Release year: 2008. Genre: Comedy. Script and Direction: Carlos Cuarón. Actors: Gael García Bernal, Diego Luna, Guillermo Francella, Jessica Mas, Dolores Heredia, Adriana Paz, Axel Ricco, Armando Hernández.
First, the three reasons that lead the viewer to Rudo y Cursi: a parody of Mexican popular culture based on the story of two “rancher” brothers (“Rudo” wants to be a soccer goalkeeper, “Cursi” wants to be a singer) who one day have a lucky break; It brings together the actors Gael García Bernal and Diego Luna, today stars of world cinema, seven years after the success of Y Tu Mama Tambien; It is the first work of that new production company, Cha Cha Chá, founded by Mexican directors Alfonso Cuarón, Guillermo del Toro and Alejandro González Iñárritu.
Now the three “little” flaws that almost ruin the result: the blurry beginning of the film makes us believe that we are facing a work that (like those people who laugh at “iron music”) looks at the popular from above ; the joke of the talkative “rancher” runs out soon; and one gets the impression that the director has not only given the two leads an IQ in the single digits, but is also out to punish them for being so ambitious.
And, finally, the three successes (everything turns, in the last half hour, for the better) that make it an entertaining comedy: the ends of the plot are tied at the end with an elegance that reveals the director, Carlos Cuarón, as a good storyteller; the pettiness of the world of soccer, embodied by an Argentine manager who seems like the devil, are put in evidence as it should be; and the climax, a patiently constructed twist of fate, leaves one breathless.