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#Oscars2018 Foreign-Language Film: Today, October 6, submission from Syria, Senegal, Mongolia, Honduras, Haiti, Costa Rica, China and Australia.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Barcelona [Un Mapa] (Barcelona [A Map])


After reading about this movie and being confused by what I read I feel more compelled to tell you all my own version of what I saw in this very crazy good movie. This more that a movie looks and feels like a play and when reading about it I found that is an adaptation of a play written by Lluïsa Cunillé called Barcelona, mapa d’ombras.

For those that understand Spanish I have to share with you something about the play that I find is an excellent descriptor (very accurate and caustic comment) of the play and consequently of the movie…

“Como quien quema el Gran Teatro del Liceo sin moverse de su habitación, Lluïsa Cunillé escribió Barcelona: Mapa d'ombres, estrenada en la sala Beckett de la Ciudad Condal en marzo de 2004, para un ciclo de miradas sobre la ciudad que, ni en el mejor de los pronósticos, podía haber soñado con una disección tan precisa, lúcida e incómoda del alma colectiva de una urbe que se sueña inmaterial, pero se revela tan pequeña que cabría (realquilada) en un piso del Ensanche.”

If you want to read the rest of this article that was published in El País go here. You will also find other articles published in other Spaniard newspapers that talk about the movie.

This Ventura Pons film is quite a "thing" as accurately shows the play but also includes interesting cinematographic flashbacks of things that are talked during the conversations that happen in the movie as well as real footage of when Barcelona surrendered to Franco. I imagine that Pons included these flashbacks to break the play scheme and in a way those breaks are welcomed to smooth the ride of this movie that is all dialogues. Lead and supporting actors performances are more than excellent.

So what is this movie all about? Well, is about one single night with an old couple that lives in a large apartment and have tenants. The husband is Ramon (Josep Maria Pou) that is sick and soon he’s expected to die (but you can hardly tell as he is very alive during this night) and with his wife Rosa (Núria Espert) have told their three tenants that they have to leave, as they wish to be alone for the last days of Ramon.

The film has three conversations between Ramon, Rosa and the three tenants in which one main character is alone with each tenant. Also there is a fourth one between Rosa and her brother. The end or the epilogue –and the most important of all- is a conversation that Ramon and Rosa have alone at their room where everything you have been hearing will come into place with totally unexpected results.

To be honest I’m having a hard time trying to tell you what is about (without giving away the great twists) and now I understand why everything I read was confusing. Just let me say that EVERYTHING here is related to what they are saying during those conversations. So I give up and let the above story outline be enough and as compensation I will include the official movie description from Pons site.

"Six characters - contemporary archetypes of urban solitude - meet in an old apartment located in the city center of Barcelona. An elderly married couple, her brother and three tenants: a blonde woman who gives French classes, a young security guard and ex-football player, and a young pregnant Argentinean woman. The old man, who was formerly a doorman at the opera and who likes to dress up in women's clothes, tells them to leave as he is going to die and wants to be alone for the last stage of his life. In this non-descript Barcelona flat, incest, homosexuality and adultery are intertwined in the life of these characters' whilst we simultaneously witness the passing of time in this Mediterranean city."

Yes, there is a gay interest moment in this movie as Rosa’s brother is gay, which could be interesting for some that read this blog.

Anyway this full of words movie has been shown in competition in many festivals around the world and is not for all audiences, as most Pons films are. I do recommend this movie especially to those that enjoy theater and like twisted dramas in European cinema.

This is one of the craziest and twisted movies I have seen lately and I did enjoyed a lot.

Enjoy!!!

P.S. For those that read Spanish this site has a good comment about the movie.

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