BCN Film Fest 2023 – Part I

From April 20th to 28th, 2023, the seventh edition of the BCN Film Fest, Barcelona’s international film festival, will take place. Personalities such as the veteran German director Wim Wenders (honorary award and review of his filmography), the historical Susan Sarandon or the charismatic Omar Sy will pass them. Among the films that will be shown, American cinema is absent from the official section, the presence of “Beau’s Scared” by Ari Aster out of competition and the Asian Noir section, in which CineAsia features Asian cinema from recent years or classics such as ‘Perfect Blue’, “Memories of Murder” either “Hate Hell”. From our website we will cover the 8 days, with my responsibility for leaving my impressions of what I see. we started.

the bounty hunters

Its original title is “Dead for a Dollar” but I think what they chose for Spain suits him well because it sounds so generic. Eight years after his last film, Walter Hill looks behind the scenes. ‘Sweet revenge’. Nothing I’ve seen of his has intrigued me, but there’s no denying that when you watch a Walter Hill film you know exactly what you’re going to find, and this won’t be the time that that will change. This is a simple classic style western with a journey that can come after 10 minutes of footage.

Once the viewer accepts this, they have two choices: enjoy the performances of Christopher Waltz and Willem Dafoe while following a list of themes (from the Western and from Walter Hill’s cinema) that are sure to be entertaining, or pay attention to the multiple issues that the film has has. . Some of these issues stem from the low budget, others stem from a very mediocre script, and some of them point to a lack of affection in the making of the film. Their B-series look, I don’t think it’s just down to the budget they had. ****

The unknown woman

There was a lot of secrecy during the presentation of the film at the festival. There were Pablo Maqueda, Laia Manzanares and Paco Bezerra (director, lead actress and screenwriter/creator of the play he is adapting) trying to talk about it without saying much, just a few cursory notes to warn the viewer that it’s not going to happen… to see something completely conventional. The movie starts and the first thing we see is a text by Pablo Maqueda asking us not to spoil the movie for anyone. An element already seen on other occasions, one of the most memorable is that of ‘The sixth Sense’. Something that makes a lot of sense (hehe) when we’re faced with a movie that could very well be made by the current M. Night Shyamalan.

It’s very difficult to talk about the film without digesting anything, which is why not a single aspect of the plot is mentioned. What I’m going to say is this “The Unknown Woman” she is daring, especially in her language, and pretentious (in a good way) when she translates them into images. It is irregular and inevitably imperfect. Pablo Maqueda has the ability to play with the viewer and let his imagination run wild, while at the same time encountering over-emphasized symbolism or overly obvious references. What is important, however, is that his strengths outweigh his weaknesses and tip the balance on the good side. He suggests the viewer and loves to play with him, putting him in uncomfortable positions where he has to flip what he sees on the screen. The shifting tone suits this proposal well, which as a whole ends twistedly comical. ******

“A Little Light”

He has an interesting perspective on how addiction changes the lives of those affected and those around them. This isn’t your typical addictive movie where the characters go to rehab religiously. The starting point here is that of someone who isn’t even ready to begin recovery, and we’ll see it all with our own eyes. The rest of the characters are perceived as irritating people who don’t stop stressing the protagonist more than helping her or talking to her in a relaxed manner. He perfectly captures what it means to have an army of people behind you telling you what to do. So far all good. The bad starts as he tries to develop this story using a character as a cornerstone in a tricky and unlikely way. A kind of Jiminy Cricket, with which he avoids the protagonist’s internal dialogue and makes everything overly exposed. His boringly conventional looks don’t help, and neither does a very uneven cast.

Because of their chaotic narration they decide to end this story quickly, it seems that the director didn’t know how to get out of the hole he had gotten himself into. Low “A Little Light” There’s an interesting movie, but it ends up getting buried by the bad choices it makes. ****

“The Impatience of the Heart”

Period romance that begins in the most conventional of ways. That beginning suggests the film will be one of those weekend midday televised shows years after it hit theaters/platforms, but it manages to reschedule its destiny for something far more interesting. All the clichés of this type of production are there, but the director uses them skillfully to introduce the viewer to the plot and the characters.

Once rid of them, it begins to grow. It’s not in the story that it differs from a generic production, but in its characters, which are very human. The leading couple will encounter difficulties in formalizing this romance, but not from third parties, but from themselves. Both he and she make mistakes, and those mistakes don’t last for one scene, they accompany them throughout the length of the footage . The film talks about what matters in the perception others have of what we do and how difficult it is to break out of a white lie when it starts to grow. As I said, its beginning can be a bit harsh or routine, but its progression keeps the viewer’s interest until it reaches a great, hard-to-digest final climax. ******

Harold’s journey

Apparently it’s a nice road movie, inevitably reminiscent of that wonderful film called ‘A true story’. The elder Harold Fry’s feat is to traverse the whole of England (500 miles, to be precise) to reach the hospital where an old work colleague is suffering from terminal cancer. This adventure tells us that good still exists in this world, how important it is to achieve a goal, while also critiques the concept of virality on the internet. All this part always makes you smile and far from being overly imaginative, it also shows the consequences of an old man taking this arduous path.

Beneath that mask of a harmless feel-good movie lies some really hard-hitting drama about how bad decisions, or the inability to make them, can cause your life to fall apart. The protagonist’s journey is a vehicle to show the real journey he needed: the introspective one. The rawness with which they show us Harold’s past is moving and I think it’s impossible not to sympathize with him. Jim Broadbent delivers an extraordinary performance that practically bears the brunt of the entire film. Luckily his wife, played by a fantastic Penelpe Wilton, although she rarely appears, is also a highly fleshed out character, with nuance and detail in every scene she appears in. Offering a film that is far from content to be viewed beautifully, Hettie MacDonald uses that appearance to lower the viewer’s alertness and evolve with every step. An (unexpected) little gem. ******

By Marc Sacristan Garcia

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