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Thursday, October 18, 2007

20 Centímetros (20 Centimeters)


Most of the movies about transsexuals tend to be heavy dramas, but here you find the story of Adolfo that calls himself Marieta and is saving money for the final surgery that will free Marieta from 20 centimeters of flesh that she does not want and is done with a different touch as this is a comedy, musical and well there is some light drama.

So how the director and writer Ramón Salazar managed to convey a story told so many times and do it quite different? Well, Marieta is a narcoleptic pre-op transsexual that every time she has a seizure dreams elaborated musical numbers in which she’s the star!

With a mostly female leading cast (only two lead roles for men) that according to a critic looks like characters who seem to have stepped out of photos by Diane Arbus and I do agree, you will find great performances especially by Mónica Cervera that plays Marieta, who by the way sings all the songs in different languages and you probably will recognize many and end up singing along like I did.

This is a quirky and kitsch movie that some English speaking critics try to relate to early Almodovar, but I’m afraid that has nothing to do with Almodovar and some of us know that in Spain there are movies done in many crazy ways and none is trying to imitate, copy or be inspired by Almodovar. This is a different beast and is a good beast, especially because is only Salazar’s second movie after doing Piedras (Stones).

Not long ago I watched Ja Zuster, Nee Zuster (Yes Nurse, No Nurse) and have to say that both have a similar format as musicals, but the comedy here is different as is more natural not exaggerated and the cinematography here is quite exceptional and interesting.

The movie has 5 wins and 2 nominations in different European film festivals, including a nomination for the Golden Leopard at the 2005 Locarno International Film Festival.

Absolutely not for all audiences, but is a musical so if you like non-traditional musicals with non-traditional and well-done stories, plus great performances then you should give it a try.

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