Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Live Twice, Love Once--a Spanish gem

Alzheimer's is not funny, but as society ages it likely will be a bigger part of our lives.   Nevertheless this movie will make you laugh, but you will also understand human nature better.

We are introduced to Emilio, a widower and retired mathematics professor.  He is going through a ritual of visiting a local cafe and working on a magic square puzzle.  The waitress comments that usually he has the puzzle figured out before she serves, but not this time.  Things are not quite normal and at a medical exam he is told he is at the first stages of Alzheimer's.  We meet his daughter, Julia  at the hospital who describes herself as a medical visitor which throughout the movie is corrected  by others to "sales person."   

We are introduced to the family when Emilio comes to dinner.  Julia's husband and daughter are absorbed with cell phones.  The daughter, techno savvy Blanca is key to subsequent events.   Emilio is put off by his grand daughter, but when he gets stuck with her she defends her interest in her cell phone by declaring it to be "God."  When he puts that idea down she demonstrates that you can find out information on anybody.  He doubts they know anything about him, but she proves him wrong.  This leads to an inquiry about a woman who he had a crush on as a youth.  Throughout the rest of the film Blanca shows him how to use the cellphone to make his quest easier.

There are interesting complications along the way, but his daughter and son in law take an interest.  His daughter is a little offended that Emilio seems to be forgetting her mother who had died five years before.  She asked her father why now and not five years ago.  He replied that then he just wanted to forget, but now he fears he will forget.  It becomes a race against time.

We are shown a flashback of him as a young man obviously smitten with Margarita, but also absorbed in his studies.  Some small details re emerge later in the movie.  He comments to his daughter that he let Margarita slip away because he was too busy with his studies.  

Of course finding someone from fifty years ago has lots of obstacles.  With lots of complications  (some very funny and some involve social media) they do reach her, but she is not quite what he expected.  There is quite a gap  (maybe half an hour film time) before they hook up again for the finale.  Although the main character deteriorates, in sum the movie is delightful and beautiful.  Three generations interact with one another in encouraging ways.

Directed by Maria Ripoll who has been directing films and tv series since 1987.  One project interests me as she crosses Spanish film with Bollywood, "Traces of Sandalwood."

Maria Minguez has been writing scripts for films and tv. shows since 2005.  She also has been an assistant director since 2007.   She won a local award for this script.

The background music was supplied by Arnau Bataller.  The gentle music supports the mood.  He has 83 credits for film composition going back to 2000.   He won a local award for this film

Nuria Roldos handled the cinematography which was in the picturesque area around Valencia.  He has been handling camera work since 1987.   He received a local nomination for this film.

Nacho Ruiz Capillas was the editor.  He has been editing films since 1988 including such as "Elsa and Fred" (2005), "Dark Blue Almost Black" (2006), "The Education of Fairies" (2006) "Agora" (2009), "100 Meters" (2016) and "A Twelve Year Night" (2018).  Check: and

Oscar Martinez played Emilio who seemed normal then deteriorated, but then had occasional breakthroughs.  Oscar was born in Argentina and built a successful career there including Oscar nominated , "Wild Tales" (2014) and "The Distinguished Citizen" (2016).  He won a local award as best actor for this role.

Inma Cuesta played Julia, the daughter who was trying to help her mostly non-coperative father, while dealing with a lively daughter and an unfaithful husband.  Winner of numerous awards in Spain, some of her films included "Biancanieves" (2012) and "Everybody Knows" (2018).  She received two nominations for best supporting actress for this role.

The biggest star of this film is the shortest, Malfalda Carbonell who played the grand daughter.  Originally the role was written for an older teenager, but she was so impressive they re-wrote the script for a younger teenager.  She starts as a self centered teenager, but soon enjoys explaining things to her grandfather and searching for his lost love.  She is the glue that makes this film work.  Before and after Malfalda has been busy with several tv. series.  She won a local award as best supporting actress.

Nacho Lopez played the son in law who was unemployed, but wanting to be a motivational  coach and at different points tries to coach different people to co-operate with him.  He does co-operate in the quest and at one point he uses his coaching to persuade someone to help.  He is also unfaithful and at one point his wife has had enough.  In other words he is charming, but self indulgent.  Nacho has been acting in tv shows since 2000 and was nominated as best supporting actor for this movie.

Alzheimer's is not belittled.  When Emilio is confronted with the reality he is reluctant to face up to it, but then decides to pursue a lost love, not so much to start another romance as to be remembered.  There are a lot of delicate touches that might be missed and probably I missed some.  The writer and director have been careful to show little things can mean a lot.  

Just a personal note.  I have noticed my memory is not what it used to be and one of my motives for blogging is to remember what is meaningful to me.  If nobody else reads my words, I do, just because the memories mean more to me than they do for anyone else.  The words "sales person" could describe most of my work life, but usually employers realize there are demeaning connotation and substitute words like medical visitor or marketing manager.

No comments:

Post a Comment