Review: Andrea’s Love
- Spanish filmmaker Manuel Martín Cuenca once again tackles family conflicts, but from the perspective of a teen who wants parental affection and does not understand the world of adults
Spanish filmmaker Manuel Martín Cuenca's filmography is marked by the dark side of family, its dysfunctions and how these affect its members. One only needs to recall titles such as Half of Oscar [+see also:
film profile] –based on incest– or The Daughter [+see also:
film profile] –dealing with the unhealthy desire to procreate– to demonstrate his interest in exploring the murkiest and most heartbreaking mechanisms of this social structure, which is sometimes more toxic than beneficial. With Andrea’s Love [+see also:
interview: Manuel Martín Cuenca
film profile] he goes a step further and focuses on the demand for affection, a feeling that is not always implicit in parental relationships. The film is competing for the Golden Spike at the 68th Seminci - Valladolid International Film Week and will soon compete in the main competition at the Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival, in its international premiere.
It introduces the girl named in the title, a teenager who takes care of her younger siblings while her mother works. At the same time, she is looking for her father, who left home years ago and started another family in another town, and she cannot understand why she does not relate to them, when her childhood memory brings back the memory of a good father.
Relying on the newcomer actress Lupe Mateo Barrero, Martín Cuenca portrays her deep melancholy. She is a girl in search of a love from the “pater familias" that she does not receive and that she should feel. Her young mind does not yet understand the mechanisms that lead adults to break unions, to be contradictory and, above all, to not keep promises, obligations and duties. She feels betrayed, confused and sad, which is why she does not form a close relationship with her best friend and takes refuge in her notebook - where she writes notes that we will never read - and in reading Juan Salvador Gaviota, a best-selling novel by Richard Bach, published in the 1970s, about a bird that distances itself from the others in search of freedom.
With a naturalistic style, a sensitive soundtrack composed by the pop group Vetusta Morla and the landscape of the Andalusian city of Cádiz as a recognisable setting - with its wind, beaches and atmospheres - Andrea’s Love touches on internal conflicts in a simple way. The non-professional actors, the natural light and the calm pace help to understand the psychology of a prematurely mature teenager who has to act as a mother rather than a sister, but who is constantly reminded that she is still a child.
But the great success of this feature film lies in tackling the difficult and uncomfortable issue of toxic families. How the lack of true affection deeply conditions the youngest and purest, helpless and collateral victims of conflictive adult actions that they do not understand, but with which they have no choice but to live (and accept).
Andrea’s Love is a Spanish-Mexican film by Spain's La Loma Blanca PC, Lazona, El Amor de Andrea AIE and Nephilim Producciones in co-production with the Mexico's Alebrije Cine y Vídeo. International sales are managed by Filmax.
(Translated from Spanish by Vicky York)
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