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Amar: With you until the end of the world

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- The debut feature film by Spanish filmmaker Esteban Crespo respectfully, aesthetically and sensitively explores the overwhelming, intense and extremely fragile subject of one’s first love

Review
Pol Monen and María Pedraza in Amar

Esteban Crespo (Madrid, 1971) wrote the screenplay for Amar [+see also:
trailer
film focus
interview: Esteban Crespo
film profile
]
 years ago, but as he couldn’t make it into a film, he extracted a couple of scenes and used them to make his first short films back in 2005: Siempre quise trabajar en una fábrica and Amar. Anyone who has seen these will recognise their themes and characters in this debut feature by the filmmaker, which was presented in the official selection in competition at the 20th Málaga Spanish Film Festival, even though the actors are different: in the short film Amar, it was Aida Folch and Alberto Ferreiro who played the characters, with original variations on their sexual roles, whereas this time we have first-time actress but well-known instagrammer María Pedraza and Pol Monen (Los niños salvajes [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
) in the opening scene of this film. It is a film that portrays the ups and downs of your first romance, the one we experience when we are young and inexperienced, and imbued with extreme emotion, intensity, affection, passion and truth.

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Amar starts on a high, as the scene that opens it, shot in a clean room flooded with light and bright colours, shows the absolute devotion, with no prejudice or fear, of a young heterosexual couple: Laura and Carlos, as they bravely experiment with their sexuality, placing blind faith in one another. But purity is fragile, as the minutes and sequences that follow show: society, friends, and that big school of life and behaviour that is family tarnish and cast a shadow over that which seemed so pure, strong and indissoluble.

Without stooping to morbidity or carnal exhibitionism, Crespo introduces his camera into the intimate relationship between these two young people who believe they’ve each found the love of their lives, with their recognisable moments of escape, protest, doubt, impetuosity and rebellion that come with it. Carlos and Laura are two kids entering into adulthood, leaving behind their delusions, dreams and truths to slowly but surely embrace contradiction, trickery and betrayal. And so the light we see at the beginning of Amar gradually fades away, as the characters enter more industrial, dark and chaotic environments and situations. Welcome to the real world.

Despite this inevitable descent into darkness, Crespo’s view of his characters has an air of respect, affection and a certain nostalgia; because even though that sense of possession and the concept of together forever that we share the first time we love and are loved can be suffocating, once it is over no one can ever take it away from us. Laura and Carlos mature and lose faith in pure feelings, but will always remember those moments they spent together as one, unique, pleasant, and once in a lifetime. Many viewers will do the same watching them love one another as if there were no tomorrow, in an Amar that finally heralds the first foray into feature film for Esteban Crespo, who won a Goya and was nominated for an Oscar with his short film Aquél no era yo.

Amar is a production by Avalon P.C., Filmeu and Amar la Película AIE, made in partnership withTVE, ICAA, ICO, Filmin and Generalitat Valenciana. The screenplay was written by the director with Mario Fernández Alonso. The cast is completed by Natalia Tena, Gustavo Salmerón, Greta Fernández, Antonio Valero and Nacho Fresneda. Ángel Amorós is director of photography. Avalon D.A. is distributing the film in Spain, whilst Global Screen will handle sales.

(Translated from Spanish)

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