Más allá del jardín (1996) Poster

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Beautifully-filmed drama
GMeleJr16 April 2000
This beautifully filmed drama, based on the famous Spanish novel of the same name is a worthy adaption of the popular book. Strong performances by a fine ensemble cast bring the characters to life in a very colorful setting. The film features Italian legend Gian Carlo Giannini in one of his few Spanish-speaking roles, as well as the well-known Fernando Guillen Cuervo, the excellent Concha Velazquez (in one of her best roles), and the promising rising star Eduardo Noriega (TESIS, OPEN YOUR EYES) in one of his earlier roles. Check it out.
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Somewhat unconvincing after the novel
khatcher-229 January 2001
A wealthy Sevillan woman finds her world crumbling around her, and with it all the social values her supposed high-ranking position had imbued in her. Concha Velasco does a fair job of throwing out her unfaithful husband who indulges in adventures, and forthwith has her own fling, holding her dying mother's hand, weeping over her son's body on the freeway and getting used to the idea of her daughter being pregnant.....all in the space of what seems to be just a few days. Any try at reducing a novel to barely 90 minutes screen time can be a risky matter: in this case the film just does not totally convince - it is not coherent enough.

But what if.....Mario Camus had been the director instead of the scriptwriter, albeit with Antonio Gala's approval, clutching, as always, his gold-ferruled walking stick? What if Valcárcel or even Rafael Azcona had done the script? The result as it stands is a film which falls back on the ever-useful trick of using tremendism, when such ingredient is totally missing in the novel. The ubiquitous fatalism is present, though it tends to be somewhat ephimeral in the film, which was probably a good idea given the condensing imposed in its making.

Anyway, the film is quite provoking and has some excellent scenes. Probably Concha Velasco's best performance since she played Santa Teresa in a Spanish TV series around 1984. I just cannot fathom out what all those poor people in Rwanda made of a whole film-crew working in the middle of their dreadful war....
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