Among the Spanish Film Festival lot, I nearly gave Marina Seresesky’s La Puerta abierta a miss - a study of life among the urban bottom feeders set in a seedy apartment block where mother and daughter whores bicker and become involved with a transvestite and a seven-year old Russian orphan - aw c’mon!
The piece proves to be remarkably well structured and centred on an excellent performance by Carmen Machi (notable in the de Iglesia El Bar and Mi gran noche) doing a more serious turn than I’ve seen from her.
Under the eyes of the mean building's mean supervisor whose husband still has a thing for Machi, her aged mother Terele Pávez leaves the apartment door open afraid she’ll fall and not be discovered while Carmen is selling her tail on the mean streets. That way Lucía Balas the daughter of a dead Russian tenant slips in avoiding the police who are looking for her.
Carmen whose life is already hard enough, is all for turning her over but keeps on putting it off in the hope that the girl’s “dick head” half-brother will collect her. It’s coming up for Xmas and the loser group form an involving bogus family. Even the cops trying to take the girl into care are given sympathy.
As the piece develops their back stories and that of Asier Etxeandia as a sympathetic cross-dressing toy boy are filled in and their dismal lives are set in the convincing rundown block. In with all the drama, life goes on - shopping, preparing meals paying the rent.
The way they manage to contrive a surprise upbeat ending is plausible and endearing.
Also on show, and a considerable departure from the mainstream of more raw edged product on show around it, is David Sousa Moreau’s Re-Evolution a lurch into Festival Film – non-linear narrative, desaturated colour, multiple language dialogue, captions with the preface “re” and SIGNIFICANCE!
Somewhere in there is a plot where victims of the Global Financial Crisis do an armed takeover of a communications centre to put out their fake news coverage of a worldwide uprising, which the news feeds automatically broadcast. A single English speaking interrogator is rushed in to investigate their motives and connections.
Unmemorable characters, drab imagery and it takes an effort to follow it. I don’t like this one’s chances in the wider market.
More fun and absolutely significance-free was Tadeo Jones 2: El secreto del rey Midas an agreeable kiddie toon sequel spoofing The Indiana Jones series. It turned up without sub-titles.
Our cartoon hero in a hat pursues his dream girl with the aid of a dog, a friendly Aztec mummy and an English language sign board carrying parrot commenting on the action. The dastardly villain carries off the girl and travels the world assembling the King Midas relics.
This one doesn’t have the elaborate texture of Rio or Cocoand its plot is from comic book stock but it is bright and well-paced and overcomes the problem of making digital humanoids involving. Sara Lavroff, our hero’s dream girl is rather fetching.