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

Thursday, April 02, 2009

El Patio de mi Cárcel (My Prison Yard)


I was looking forward to watch this El Deseo (Almodóvar production company) film based on a true story about a successful theater group that originated at a women’s jail in Spain, but I found that the way the story is told was not really interesting and performances did not help to grab viewers attention.

This Belén Macías films tells about a prison guard, Mar, that against all odds forms a theater troupe with some colorful inmates and the best stage actress is a petty thief who cannot adjust to life outside of jail, Isa. The film basically tells Isa’s story that is really melodramatic and sad. The other women in the troupe are: Dolores a gypsy that killed her husband; Rosa a sweet and fragile prostitute; Ajo a girl in love with Pilar, and Luisa a naïve Colombian caught in a world she doesn’t understand.

Yeah the film has a secondary lesbian interest plot that is tragic and in my opinion full of clichés and soap-alike melodrama, but actually is not only this secondary plot is the whole movie!

Still, this real life story is worth to be known by some that read this blog and for information purposes I will give the movie the lesbian interest label, but please do not raise your expectations and perhaps you will be able to enjoy the film as an escape moment. There is one thing that I cannot avoid to mention, Verónica Echegui plays Isa and I have seen this actress in other films, but here I find that she looks and her character behaves a lot like most Penelope Cruz roles in Spanish films; this only means that if you enjoy Cruz performances, perhaps you will be also puzzled with Echegui’s so similar to Cruz looks.

The film was honored with 2 wins and 7 nominations in Spain awards and fests, including a nomination for the Golden Seashell in the 2008 San Sebastian fest and you can browse the blog to find some of the other honors.

I cannot say that I enjoyed the movie mostly because the story focused in Isa’s story instead of focusing in the amazing and outstanding story of the creation of a successful theater troupe inside a women prison. But I’m glad that I was able to learn about this remarkable true story.

Enjoy.

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