The Bride: The heat of passion, Lorca-style
by Alfonso Rivera
- The second film by Paula Ortiz is a beautiful, modern and epic adaptation of Blood Wedding, which opens the Noves Visions One section of the Catalan gathering
“Another adaptation of Federico García Lorca?” some will ask themselves with a raised eyebrow. “What can it possibly bring that’s new and that we haven’t already seen a thousand times – in the theatre and on TV, too?” Paula Ortiz – who has been fascinated by Lorca’s imagery since her teenage years – has had the guts to give it a go, and her courageousness has produced outstanding results: The Bride [+see also:
interview: Paula Ortiz
film profile] is a film that showcases the most impetuous, passionate and romantic side of the Granada-born poet, an author with such talent that his work still needs to be revisited and reiterated, despite the fact that he has already been so highly praised. After enjoying this movie, which is being screened at the Sitges Film Festival tomorrow after it was shown in the Zabaltegi section of the recent San Sebastián Film Festival, more than one viewer will feel the need to continue rediscovering the works by the author of Poet in New York.
The Bride is already being talked about as a title that is likely to head up the list of favourites at the next Goya Awards. There is no doubt in anyone’s mind that Inma Cuesta, its lead actress, will be Penélope Cruz’s (for Ma Ma [+see also:
film profile] – read more) fiercest rival in the race for the Goya for the Best Actress of 2015. The Valencian actress – who has also been signed up as a cast member for the new Almodóvar movie (read more) – not only sensitively constructs a character that is romantic to the bitter end, who struggles between what her brain tells her and what her heart urges her to do, but also displays immense talent as she performs traditional Spanish songs like La tarara, with all the feeling and emotion of a professional singer, which will come as a surprise to those who only remember Cuesta’s equally outstanding flair for comedy in the outrageous 3 Many Weddings [+see also:
interview: Javier Ruiz Caldera
She is supported by some superb portrayals of frightened, chauvinistic and formidable women, with seasoned actress Luisa Gavasa (another sure-fire candidate for a Goya) standing out in the role of the mother of the Bridegroom (Asier Etxeandía), a good-looking chap who has been friends with the Bride since they were children: together with Leonardo (Álex García), who is now married to one of the Bride’s cousins (Leticia Dolera, who played the lead in Ortiz’s first film, Chrysalis [+see also:
film profile]), they made up an inseparable trio. The night before the wedding, in the sweltering heat, the Bride wrestles with her inner dilemmas. The fact that the outcome is already well known doesn’t make it any less gripping or soul-destroying.
Indeed, Paula Ortiz has refreshed Lorca’s timeless masterpiece and made it into a kind of epic female western, dripping with beauty and misfortune. This visceral, bloody and torrid film, which often teeters on the edge of the abysses of sublimity and pretentiousness (such as with the slow-motion/fast-motion camerawork and a certain resemblance to adverts, a style indebted to Terrence Malick), emerges victorious from this duel because it sticks unwaveringly to Lorca’s original lines, which are recited by the actors with a natural spontaneity that is not at all forced. The tale’s devastating dramaturgy is enhanced by the almost sepia-toned cinematography courtesy of Miguel Ángel Amoedo and the photogenic settings of Los Monegros (Spain) and Cappadocia (Turkey), where the location shots were filmed: they are violent places steeped in sexual imagery, which are simultaneously harsh and dreamlike. They are landscapes that represent all the ancestral hatred, the pride turned to stone and the excruciating spitefulness that torments the people that ride by, who have fallen victim to a cruel, inescapable fate.
The Bride is a co-production between Get in the Picture Productions (Spain), Mantar Film (Turkey) and Cine Chromatix KG (Germany), and its international sales are managed by Fortissimo Films (the Netherlands).
As part of the IFFR Live! catalogue, The Bride is being screened online from 31 January to 14 February here.
(Translated from Spanish)