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Especially at night is a movie, above all, sad; above all, of actresses; above all, profound; about a history, above all, unjustly forgotten. But, above all, Especially at night is, above all else, lucid cinema that wonders about the past to find the hidden keys of the present and, who knows if of the future. Put this way, it seems above all complicated and, in reality, it is very simple in its clarity, in its depth and in its timeliness even.
The debutant Víctor Iriarte presented his debut film in the section known as Giornate degli Autori (Days of the authors) and, beyond being one of the two Spaniards in Venice (the other is Juan Antonio Bayona), it was discovered as one of the most daring and at the same time rigorous proposals of what has been seen so far. Above all.
The film follows the trail of a mother (Lola Dueñas) determined to find another mother (Ana Torrent). They are united by the same son (Manuel Egozkue). The first gave birth to him, stole it in the middle of Franco's regime and gave it to the second. With this starting point, the director builds an itinerant story (which is also one of discovery) with the soul of noir that travels from Spain to Portugal. "It's about giving voice to both, since they are both mothers and victims of a history of violence. And to do so without pointing to one as guilty and another as simply the victim, but without equidistances. It is clear who is responsible," says Iriarte and continues: "The idea is to review a story that has been covered up like so many others. The great taboo. Definitely, the Transition admits another reading that is not only the triumphalist one that we have been sold."
Lola Dueñas, Víctor Iriarte, Manuel Egozkue and Ana Torrent, at the Venice Film Festival.MORIS PUCCIO
Despite the declaration of principles, and to avoid misunderstandings, Especially at Night is not a political film no matter how obvious its obviously political intention. It is not a question of settling accounts, but of throwing them out, which, although it seems the same, is not. The film navigates figuratively and even really through the interior of fractured lives. And she does not do it so much to solve an enigma as to dwell on the strange mystery of motherhood, loss and, if necessary, love. Child theft is both argument and excuse, reason and metaphor. What is settled, in short, is the complex and tight network of dependencies that makes us what we are, or what we want to be, or what we have no choice but to be. It sounds lyrical and, indeed, it is.
Be that as it may, what counts is the delicate and precise way in which Especially at Night is constructed from a timeless reality that speaks of identity (be it that of the protagonists or, already put, of an entire country) and recognition; of memory recovered and time spent (or lost). The works of both Dueñas and Torrent and the newcomer Egozkue surprise by their sincerity and their almost mimetic ability to adapt to a narrative that wants to be documentation of reality and enthusiastic fabulation; Proof and refutation at the same time. The film opens with a mirror-shaped quote by Roberto Bolaños and it's no coincidence. Especially at night it is, above all, very sad. Undoubtedly, and above all, one of the jewels of the year of Spanish cinema.
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