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Anabel is a high-class old lady who lives happy in Barcelona (Catalonia, northeast to Spain) with her husband and businessman Bernabé, and her daughter Greta. But during a dinner party organized by Anabel, she realizes that Chiara, her daughter from her first marriage, appears after thirty years disguised as a member of the staff. After telling Anabel who she really is, Chiara asks her mother to spend ten days together. After a failed try to give Chiara money to avoid the petition, a reluctant Anabel accepts Chiara's request. They go to the same house where she lived before to leaving Chiara's father. A place in a little town in the French Pyrenees. Strangers to each other, Anabel and Chiara spend the days in uncomfortable situations, with Anabel trying to learn the reason of her daughter's request, and Chiara keeping silence about it. Anabel finds herself reliving her youth, and trying to get to know better her daughter, but it all changes when Chiara reveals the real reason she ...Written by
Very early on I developed a somewhat negative feeling about the last hours of Sundays. A mixture of laziness, melancholy and anxiety. Laziness to have to sleep early and wake up in time for Monday's obligations; melancholy for feeling that there was still so much to do and little time available yet again (ah! Another Sunday that ends); and anxiety about another week-end and all that lay ahead of me. Reasons to feel all this? I'm not sure, but when I stop to think, I think I have some answers. But the focus here is not to deal with it. However, I understand it is important to say that today this feeling is already more than the result of habits, it is part of who I am. (I'm typing this text and now it's exactly 10:03 PM of a Sunday in June 2018. A real battle to fill another night of the first day of the week).
I recall Aristotle's arguments in "Ethics to Nicomachus" as to how character is formed. Simplified and briefly, it corresponds to that old maxim: your actions become habits and these become your character. In the end, choosing your actions will shape your character. Aristotle calls this "prior choice". But the mainstream of psychology argues that character is formed by the conjunction of unconscious defense mechanisms. Whether by choices (conscious or not) or by defense mechanisms, the fact is that for me the second half of Sunday is the expression of what is empty.
Last week I was looking for a movie to watch and I came across the title "Sunday's illness" (in English). That was enough to make me decide to see him. (Undoubtedly I had a direct and immediate match). If the English version of the title was more honest to the original "La enfermedad del domingo", I would certainly look for more details to decide whether to watch it or not. By allowing me to make the decision based solely on the title, I exposed myself to the risk of wasting time with a poor quality film. To my joy and delight, the Spanish film is excellent, profound and makes every minute of every scene and all that invested in thinking about it and feel its impact after its end.
The script brings a feeling of mystery, which leads the viewer to stay tuned and feel instigated to await the outcome of the story. As a complex puzzle, we have to observe well to build the complete picture. From the first to the last scene, this is the process for who is following the fit of events. Plaudits to the screenwriter (and film director) Ramón Salazar.
If in the role of writer the Spaniard shows all his talent, it is not possible to say the same about his direction. Many scenes are conducted based on some exaggeration. Not the exaggerated, flamboyant, just the opposite, an excess of apathy that makes many passages less plausible. At certain times, minor corrections in posture, physiognomy or intonation of the actors would be enough to raise the film's standard. Here comes my reading about the actings: except for Barbara Lennie playing Chiara, who embodies her character and makes us believe she is a real individual (especially by the expression of her pain), all others deliver very little as a scenic result. Which is a shame, because in representing Anabel in all its complexity of life, Susi Sánchez could have been one of the highlights of the film. Unfortunately, she does not excite us as she would have if directed better. If Salazar's intention was to put verisimilitude, she left us only a very unreal coldness.
The real highlight, our great delight, is the photograph given to us there. Ricardo de Gracia, photograph director, was really great doing his job. From what I have been able to ascertain, this is his only job in such a position. I wish he could have other opportunities to execute this talent; Keep his head, hands and eyes so sharp; and that I may enjoy his future works. In "Sunday's illness", he was able to paint the beauty of pain, constant pain, intense and deep. He still manages to wrap it all up in a nebulous atmosphere, while presenting how the visual details can be gratifying to the soul (of course, merit shared with the director). The color palette that applies, mostly in pastel tones, is extremely coherent with the whole movie's picture.
Faced with the pain, the emptiness and the disillusioned anguish of Chiara with all that she has lacked in practically all her life - which, however simple and common, is extremely essential and she knows she has not even a chance to conquer - I can't be so negative about my Sundays. All I've ever felt I lack these days is pure ridiculous nonsense in the face of what Chiara had hoped to have in her own.
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