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  • The best international films of 2019.'The Irishman 'and' Story of a marriage '

The cinema is probably about to disappear. Perhaps, all art worth its salt always lives one step away from its extinction. In Foucault's reading of Edouard Manet's painting, he imagines the possibility, almost necessity, of a new space for representation. And if what is relevant is not so much what is represented, what we roughly call reality, such as the space of representation itself, that is, the painting itself? The philosopher thought he saw in the forerunner of Impressionism first and abstract art later the first formulation of what he called a picture-object, the picture as materiality, the picture as an autonomous object and without reference beyond itself that reflects the outer light and in front of which the spectator moves to reconstruct it with his gaze. In his own way, Manet, always according to his countryman, anticipates the end of all the painting that would come later. And, of course, its new beginning.

For some reason, everything is repeated. The same arguments and even the same movies. Different and yet identical. The last works of Pedro Almodóvar and Óliver Laxe on paper have nothing to do with each other. They are separated by generations, manners, forms of production and even the texture of the finishes. Pain and glory speaks of a film director who remembers. And in the careful memory of all the glory that went and lived, it hurts. It is and wants to be the end of a journey, who knows of an entire filmography. What burns , however, is limited to telling the story of a mother and a child alone in the middle of the remains of a fire. The man leaves the jail after being accused and convicted of a pyromaniac and, consequently, can silence him. The couple drag all the blame of a time and a rural life that disappears. The causes of the fires are many. Almost as many as the guilt. But he and she, in their silence not exactly compassionate, not angry, possess them all. They humiliate them, because perhaps everyone around them lives humiliated. It is and wants to be the beginning of a work with only two preceding films.

However, the two proposals indicated by our jury as the most prominent of everything produced in Spain in 2019 are joined by the sensation of finitude; the clarity of something very similar to the end of themselves. To the limit, the two, of their own extinction. And, consequently, at the beginning of everything they advertise. Both films, as Foucault of the painter of Un bar in the Folies Bergère points out , could well be described as films-objects, films whose materiality is palpable in the always studied and colorful composition of each plane in the case of Almodóvar and his photographer José Luis Alcaine , be in the ardent physicality of each sequence photographed by Mauro Hercé for Óliver Laxe. What burns literally burns. In both tapes the exterior light is reflected and, in the same way, in both the spectator is invited to reinvent the time of a narrative that is also the narration of the gaze of the beholder; shared narrative can .

Not by chance, the two films, like the two directors, participate in the same affiliation. Both were presented in Cannes. The first, in the official section of Cannes; and the second, in Un certain regard. And that, like it or not, brand. After all, the two share the manners of an era that is wanted at the end of a permanent crisis. Over and over they talk about the same thing about Tarantino, Scorsese, Cuarón and so many others who are obsessed with what, after living their best times, they face their most intimate fire and extinction. It is the cinema itself that disappears because it is in its nature to disappear at every step. And born again r.

Beyond formalities and foucaultisms , there is one more element that points them out as daughters no longer of their time as of their space (that is, Spain now). Both Pain and glory and What burns , from perhaps antithetical positions, are also political films for everything they say about forgiveness, guilt and the very possibility of redemption. The two insist on not being humbled by memories, they do not want to turn wounds into an excuse (the best of all) for resentment. And the two are nothing more than two different ways of assimilating the depth of pain towards something like reconciliation or justice. It sounds abstract, but rarely does Spanish cinema end a year with two masterpieces so blunt, so opposite and, despite everything, so perfectly identical. And so Spanish, for Madrid one, and Galician the other. It is cinema that disappears and, of course, is reborn.

Amador Arias and Benedicta Sánchez in 'Lo que arde', by Oliver Laxe.

The votes of the directors


1. What burns , by Oliver Laxe.

2. Pain and glory , by Pedro Almodóvar.

3. The days to come , by Carlos Marques-Marcet.

4. The virgin of August , by Jonás Trueba.

5. The journey of Marta , of Neus Ballús.


1. While the war lasts , by Alejandro Amenábar.

2. The infinite trench , by Jon Garaño, Aitor Arregi, José Mari Goenaga.

3. The innocence , of Lucía Alemany.

4. What burns , by Óliver Laxe.

5. The daughter of a thief , from Belén Funes.


1. The infinite trench , by Jon Garaño, Aitor Arregi, José Mari Goenaga.

2. Pain and glory , by Pedro Almodóvar.

3. The days to come , by Carlos Marques-Marcet.

4. The hole , by Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia.

5. Mother , by Rodrigo Sorogoyen.


1. Who kills iron , from Paco Plaza.

2. While the war lasts , by Alejandro Amenábar.

3. Goodbye , by Paco Cabezas.

4. The innocence , of Lucía Alemany.

5. Advantages of traveling by train , Aritz Moreno.


1. Karelia , by Andrés Duque.

2. The virgin of August , Jonás Trueba.

3. Longa Noite , by Eloy Enciso.

4. The daughter of a thief , Belén Funes.

5. Those who want , by Elena López Riera.


1. What burns , by Oliver Laxe.

2. Pain and glory , by Pedro Almodóvar.

3. The virgin of August , by Jonás Trueba.

4. Buñuel in the labyrinth of the turtles , by Salvador Simó.

5. The daughter of a thief , from Belén Funes.

According to the criteria of The Trust Project

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