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Saturday, July 23, 2011

"Every Song Is About Me", of love and literature

Every Song Is About Me (Todas las Canciones Hablan de Mí, Spanish original title)

A cool title and a wonderful homage to Woody Allen's Manhattan on the film poster made me curious about this Spanish film. After watching it, I can say my curiosity was partially justified.

There are many good things to point out of this film. First, the attempt of relating a relationship mixing comedy (not one where you will laugh a lot, but with the feeling the film is not taking itself too seriously) without avoiding some somber parts of a relation. One of the true merits of the film is that the leading characters are pretty intelligent but ordinary people trying to make something with their life.

Second, the remarkable ability of newcomer director Jonás Trueba (check his interesting blog) in capturing the confusion of a self-obsessed generation, poised by music and literature (a minority, at least), hoping, like the title, of finding some comfort in a song where we are stuck in real life.

And third, the flair of the movie, with its episodic structure and the Nouvelle Vague atmosphere mixed with a dialogue-first composition of scenes. We can say Rohmer, Truffaut and Woody Allen's styles are all present. Nice to see a Spanish director with different references, filming a quite romantic/attractive Madrid and showing a great deal of inventive and wise ability to homage his favourite directors. In that sense, a couple of scenes will make you smile for sure.

Unfortunately, the movie doesn't fulfil its promises. The aesthetics/style gets a bit over the script, so there's not really a dramatic tension on "Every Song" despite the topic. Then the film decays and develops at a slow pace. A fact that has something to do with leading character Ramiro (played by Oriol Vila). Winning is a pretty realistic behaviour, but the development of the film (without spoiling the film, let's say Vila doesn't get locked at home despite being supposedly heartbroken) contradicts his understated attitude.

Then there's the tone. I said the film doesn't take itself so seriously, but that, mixed with an unnecessary voiceover or some lengthy dialogues, hurts its dynamism. And finally, and on the minor things side. There's no sense of reality in terms of social and economical background, making the characters live in a sort of surreal-parallel world. The literary references (Kundera on top) are pedantic. And Franco Battiato as the music choice for a thirty-something is a really weird choice...being polite. 

Overall, an attractive but unsatisfying film, that hast to be valued as an unusual proposal on Spanish cinema, with some fantastic moments and a charm in the way it is presented.

SCORE: 5,75/10

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