Review: Ana by Day
- Multi-talented Spanish artist Andrea Jaurrieta surprises viewers with a daring first film alternating suspense and surrealism
Having its world première in competition at the 21st Málaga Spanish Film Festival, and also scheduled to close the upcoming edition of the D’A Film Festival Barcelona, the long-awaited Ana by Day [+see also:
film profile] is the first full-length film directed by Andrea Jaurrieta (Pamplona, 1986). An artist, producer, actress, and graduate of the ESCAC Film School and the Complutense University of Madrid, Jaurrieta also trained as an assistant director and a writer of short films. She has created four video installations and regularly delivers seminars on cinema for various teaching establishments.
The film introduces us to its namesake, Ana, played by the magnificent Ingrid García-Jonsson (a permanent fixture in the Malagan Festival best actress category). Close to finishing her doctorate, Ana is attending a job interview at a law firm. With the camera fixed on her close up as she converses with her interviewer, Jaurrieta gives us a taste of Ana’s dissatisfaction over the state of her life, which isn’t quite as she would like it to be, and the music and editing of the film play a key role in heightening the overall sense of confusion, pain and awkwardness that is felt by Ana when her interlocuter puts her on the spot, asking her to grade her level of happiness.
This niggling sense of alienation grows further still when Ana calls in on her parents and discovers another woman has taken her place in the family. Within the first few minutes of the film, the director-screenwriter offers us something along the lines of a psychological thriller with the lead character realising that someone identical to her has usurped her place in the world.
From that very moment, stripped of all family, social and professional obligations, Ana runs off in search of freedom and ends up in a guest house occupied by a host of colourful characters, and in a nightclub run by a bunch who are no less strange than the other lot. Reminiscent of the films of Fellini, Polanski, Fassbinder, Lynch, Buñuel and Cassavetes no less, Ana by Day is an ambitious film. But, unfortunately, it loses its initial momentum and winds up caught in a web of its own making, confusing and tiring viewers rather than surprising them. It does, however, contain some powerful imagery and tackles interesting ideas with boldness and audacity - ideas such as the (im)possibility of complete freedom, the recovery of lost identity, the delayed fulfilment of dreams, and the exploration of our limits.
Ana by Day, whose core cast also includes Mona Martínez, Álvaro Ogalla, María José Alfonso, Francisco Vidal and Fernando Albizu, is produced by Spanish firm No hay banda, Andrea Jaurrieta P.C. and Parisian group Pomme Hurlante Films, with backing from the Government of Navarre and a crowdfunding campaign. Media Luna New Films is handling international sales of the film.
(Translated from Spanish)
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