Sunday 16 February 2014

Wake Up Love (Despabílate Amor) [1996]

Depiction of nostalgia and regret for all the things that could have been but never was, yet avoiding the pitfalls of cloying sentimentality, is a difficult job, and that’s what Argentine filmmaker Eliseo Subiela achieved in Wake Up Love which, at many levels, reminded me of the Sautet masterpiece Vincent, François, Paul & Others. And the strong political undercurrents that he added to this otherwise personal tale made this eulogy to a lost generation of men and women a powerful work. Ricardo (Juan Leyrado), known as Elvis for his love for the King’s music, has decided to hunt down his old buddies in order to celebrate 25 years of graduation. One of those he calls and meets, is Ernesto (Dario Grandinetti), once his closest buddy despite their contrasting natures. While Ricardo was always the happy-go-lucky kind who’s danced his way through life, Ernesto is a Leftist intellectual and an amateur poet who identified with the struggles of common men during the country’s political upheavals during 60s and 70s. More importantly, Ricardo is now married to Ana (Soledad Silveyra), Ernesto’s sweetheart during their college days, and has a 20-year old son who, ironically, wants to be a poet championing the oppressed around the world. As old memories, forgotten wounds, repressed flames and deep regrets surface, the characters try hopelessly reconciling with their present in their own personal ways – the scene featuring a former friend who is now employed at a small railway crossing was particularly memorable. The narrative kept alternating between the present, represented as drab and mundane, and the past, captured in vibrant colours, while the fine performances, poetry and score added deep melancholic layers to this beautiful film.

Director: Eliseo Subiela
Genre: Drama/Psychological Drama/Romance/Reunion Film
Language: Spanish
Country: Argentina

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