Review: Not Such an Easy Life
- Félix Viscarret portrays the mid-life crisis, the evanescence of professional success, immature male friendship and modern fatherhood with intelligent humour
Last October, Félix Viscarret from Navarre presented Staring at Strangers [+see also:
interview: Félix Viscarret
film profile] at the Seminci festival in Valladolid and he is now competing in the Official Section of the 26th Malaga Film Festival with his latest project, Not Such an Easy Life. It is a real privilege to have two such back-to-back works by a Spanish filmmaker who with each new feature film takes his storytelling skills up a notch, being equally strong in both suspense (with his previous film) and comedy, with dramatic/existential undertones.
Although the characters in Not Such an Easy Life and their homes look like something out of a fashion and interior design magazine, the film boasts a harmonious lightness with a smile on your face for most of its running time, although it stills addresses deep and more serious themes than first anticipated.
For example, the labour crisis and the emptiness of professional success, with some guys (the envied winners) who have sold out in order to get to the very top in the world of architecture. The main character, played by Miki Esparbé as we have never seen him before, works as an architect, surfing with talent between disorientation, chaos, ridicule, tenderness and fragile self-esteem, beaten by the blows of destiny.
Viscarret also dissects with subtlety and sensitivity that critical midlife period, a vital stage of self-analysis where everything should be under control, but which in reality falls far short of those aspired goals. The routine of marriage and self-demanding modern parenthood (something we haven't seen much of in recent Spanish cinema, beyond the comedy of Santiago Segura) also come together in a comedy - not so simple - which, beneath all that veneer of a colourful, beautifully photographed film, comes bitterness, a fair amount of melancholy and a deep love for the children who put the protagonist in a state of confusion.
There is a wonderful chemistry built up between the main character and his colleague, played by Álex García (just as magnetic as in the series Riot Police [+see also:
interview: Rodrigo Sorogoyen
series profile], but more romantic). Thanks to Viscarret's own script, the two portray male friendship (both complicit and immature) where it is easy to recognise yourself or those we know.
The co-director of the series Patria [+see also:
series profile] has created one of those films that end up slowly seducing, subtly administering the viewer with something similar to the feeling of happiness. Because happiness is like a soufflé (as mentioned by the supporting character played by the great Ramón Barea, referring to the high of the awards received): intense, sweet and, unfortunately, temporary.
Not Such an Easy Life was produced by Lamia and A Contracorriente Films. Latido manages international sales and the film will be released in Spanish cinemas on 23 June, distributed by A Contracorriente Films.
(Translated from Spanish by Vicky York)
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