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MÁLAGA 2024

Review: Nina

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- Andrea Jaurrieta boldly crosses the thriller and western genres in a film with nerve and grit that jumps through time while tackling a highly topical social conflict

Review: Nina
Patricia López Arnaiz in Nina

In 2018 and with her first feature film, entitled Ana by Day [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
, the Navarrese filmmaker, Andrea Jaurrieta surprised us with a disconcerting, ambiguous story possessed by strangeness that showed that hers was not an accommodating look, but one that flirted freely with the fantasy genre from everyday life. With her second film, Nina [+see also:
trailer
interview: Andrea Jaurrieta
film profile
]
, which is in the running for the Golden Biznaga at the 27th Malaga Film Festival, she once again demonstrates that she is not one for comfort. Armed with spirited narrative ambition, she offers a powerful story with a convoluted narrative structure that tackles a burning issue that never fails to make headlines.

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From the very first sequence, Nina presents a woman (fiercely played by Patricia López Arnaiz) armed with a shotgun with which, one hostile night of rain and mud, she takes aim at a house where a target we can't quite make out is located. She then seeks shelter from the rain in a hotel where she is recognised by the hotel manager, as Nina has long since returned to her hometown. She grew up there, saw a lot of films and fell in love with a successful man, much older than herself, who left an indelible mark on her. This is why she is back, tainted with pain, rage and trauma.

One third is based on the classic The Seagull by Russian writer Anton Chekhov, another third on the play Nina, written by José Ramón Fernández (Lope de Vega Award 2003), and the rest from Jaurrieta's own hyperactive mind. This film absorbs the central idea from its main sources of inspiration and then transforms its original character in love into a wounded animal possessed by revenge.

Nina stands proudly as an empowered revenge movie with the makings of a western and a strong psychological onus. Its protagonist is similar to Joan Crawford in the classic Johnny Guitar, but also Jennifer Jones in Duel in the Sun, with the hard determination on her face of a contemporary John Wayne. Jaurrieta's Nina is a modern girl who is not content to accept the sexist past or the social apathy and hypocrisy, but who, in an attempt to rebel against all this, seeks justice, like a Basque Charles Bronson.

And this cinephilia runs through this red-tinged story, with Hitchcock casting a long shadow in this dizzying drama and you can also sense the influence of Pedro Almodóvar and even Martin Scorsese in Cape Fear. Told in two timelines (the present and the teenage years of the protagonist), with powerful visuals and an energetic montage that can sometimes be confusing, but which shows the unease of its central character. It also reflects how traumas and scars, even if they want to be erased, revive and open up when we tread the labyrinthine streets where abominable acts took place. This is what one of the secondary characters reminds the stubborn Nina, summing up the disenchanted spirit of this film, "don't give it any more attention, because we can't turn back the clock."

Nina is produced by Bteam ProdsIcónica and Irusoin, in co-production with Lasai Producciones. It is exported by Filmax.

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(Translated from Spanish by Vicky York)

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