Tuesday, 17 June 2014

A review: "Presentimientos" [2013 Spain]


Marta Etura and Eduardo Noriega in Presentimientos Marta Etura and Eduardo Noriega in Presentimientos
Marta Etura in Presentimientos Marta Etura in Presentimientos

Santiago Tabernero's feature "Presentimientos" [Eng. Title: Inside Love], based on an award winning Clara Sánchez novel, analyses emotional crises that sometime afflict stable relationships within marriage. The film uses three timelines - two of which are parallel, in trying to explain complexities arising out of varying expectations, by people in love.

The spark in the once loving relationship of Félix (Eduardo Noriega) and Julia (Marta Etura) has dissipated of late, more so since the birth of their young child Tito. Félix makes arrangements for the family to spend a week away at a holiday resort, in the hope of re-injecting new vigour into their otherwise staid and increasingly loveless relationship.

But soon after arriving at the resort, Julia gets lost in town while performing an errand, and her belongings - her handbag with cash, credit cards, identity papers and mobile phone, stolen, when she gets out of her car to investigate a crashing noise she'd just heard through the pouring rain. The following day, police inform Félix that Julia was involved in a car accident and had been taken to hospital, and is presently in a state of coma.

Just as we see a devastated Félix trying to come to terms with the calamity, we see the comatose Julia's mind living a parallel reality of her own - having run out of petrol, lost, penniless, and parked by the seaside, she waits for daybreak to locate a telephone.

But her repeated attempts at locating her family will reach a dead-end, and to complicate matters, she ends up having a fling with Marcus (Alfonso Bassave), a womaniser whom she first meets in a bar - he offers to buy her car, and takes her for the night to a house that he falsely claims to be his, but even after knowing who he really is, Julia will find it difficult to shake him off...

Apart from actual events, and Julia's parallel existence populated by apparently random characters she'd encountered or known in the past, the film also inserts into the narrative flashbacks from Félix's perspective, to piece together a profile of their relationship-crisis. It all sounds fascinating on paper, because there are numerous points for exploring each of their actions psycho-analytically. The resulting screen-interpretation also has solid grounds for it to have been a success, and yet it fails due to a number of reasons.

For a start - it's the screenplay, co-penned by Mr. Noriega himself. The various timelines are shuffled together at whim, rather than purpose - the narrative appears to have been cobbled up in haste without relevant connecting points. It might have been the intention to selectively drip-feed information to the audience, but it ends up being anticlimactic towards the end. Secondly, the director might have wanted the film to play out like a mystery thriller, a la Mulholland Drive, and also as a psycho-romantic drama like Hable con ella, but it falls short on detail whilst scoring high on pretentiousness, in the manner in which conflicting realities collude mainly to confuse the viewer.

The film is not actually terrible, because it has its wonderful talking points - the cinematography, editing, and sound design are of a quality that you'd expect from a high-end production, and the performances are professional, particularly that of Marta Etura who interprets her character with undeniable conviction and nuance - they all join forces in presenting a film that certainly looks attractive to look at, but alas, it isn't nearly a Lynch or an Almodóvar. Perhaps it was too ambitious a film that could've best been left to lay where it was - on paper.

Amazon.es DVD Link [PAL]


The Nudity: Marta Etura, Alfonso Bassave, and Silvia Tortosa
There is brief nudity from Marta Etura in a couple of scenes, one of which also briefly features Alfonso Bassave. The pleasant surprise however, was the concealed-nudity of Silvia Tortosa - of the good 'ol destape years. Playing the madame of a high-class brothel in the film, Ms. Tortosa's in her sixties but boy, hasn't she aged rather well!

Marta Etura, Alfonso Bassave, and Silvia Tortosa nude in Presentimientos


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