Wounded: an emotional roller coaster
by Alfonso Rivera
- Fernando Franco speaks with realism and without filters about the conflicted and hypersensitive world of a woman about to have a breakdown and who suffers from a personality disorder
Wounded [+see also:
interview: Fernando Franco
film profile], the first feature by Fernando Franco, is a film full of surprises. The novice director enters the game with a trump card: an arid, rigorous, disturbing, mature, and troubling film, which displays realism that stays in the spectator’s mind long after the end of the screening.
The first surprise of Franco’s film is that it was selected just like the latest films by Tavernier, Egoyan and Martín Cuenca to compete at the San Sebastian Film Festival (and got ahead by receiving the Special Prize of the Jury), while first feature films are usually selected in the New Directors section. The film’s second victory, the Silver Shell rewarding the committed performance of Marian Álvarez (rewarded in Locarno in 2007 for Lo mejor de mí), was less unexpected: the actress once again shows how much she gets involved in each character she plays, and the varied but always credible spectrum of registers she is capable of playing could well give her a Goya at the next ceremony.
Álvarez here convincingly plays a young woman named Ana who works as an ambulance driver and lives with her divorced mother, a distant woman (Rosana Pastor), whilst entertaining a complex relationship with a waiter (Andrés Gertrúdix). The camera follows Ana everywhere: to the hospital, the loneliness of her room, while she talks on the phone or online, when she has fits of rage or travels to attend her father’s wedding. The spectator thus becomes the direct witness to her insomnias, anger, happiness, and the guilt she feels when she self-harms. In fact, even if it is never said because no one ever notices, Ana suffers from a personality disorder, the kind that affects 2% of the population and leads those who suffer from it from intense happiness to horror and from jubilation to panic, without there ever being a tolerable middle ground.
In comparison to the Dardennes’ cinema, Wounded is not an easy film to watch. Its style, obstinately naturalist, does not underline anything or exalt any passages with music. Franco forces us to accompany Ana in the abyss where she harms herself, in her ups and downs, so that we understand what is happening without ever having to explain it or predict what will happen to her. The movie, filmed in real time, with many long takes, has a bipartite structure which articulates itself around the two states of mind of the heroine: the ascending and descending phases. The ending remains open.
Despite the harshness of the topic, the filmmaker does not fall into drama or excess. He relentlessly sticks to his chosen point of view, building the narration and the directing around the main character with the austerity of documentary filmmaking. All this gives Wounded such a degree of truth that, as the film addresses the mysteries of the human soul, it can be disturbing, but when we look into our inner self, we often come out wiser.
(Translated from Spanish)