1 April 2006 | juliomontoya2000
Strictly for Vintage Julio fans - SPOILERS
This movie tells a very simple story. It dramatizes Julio Iglesias' own life, whom a car accident left him temporarily paralyzed, and permanently away from professional soccer, in which he was a goalie. But those blows of destiny are surprising sometimes. Were it not for this, probably Julio would have never become the most famous singer from Spain and from the Hispanic world.
The movie begins with the news of his long-awaited debut in the first team of the Real Madrid, but the accident happens that very same day. Then, it comes a period of physical and mental recovery, that, of course, will not be easy, and will demand lots of will.
Basically, the movie shows us that the character, through this experience, got to cherish the important things in life, as exemplified by: a) He dumps his former girlfriend, who abandoned him in the most critics moments of his illness, for the girl that wanted him and helped him get in shape again. And b) He decides not to see some record executives because he rather visit a child, that admired him and who is paralyzed, and that needs his friendship and help. Sounds cliché? Yes, the whole concept is corny, although the message has meaning still.
It's not hard to criticize negatively this movie, from the formal point of view. It's filmed as a soap opera. The edition is poor, the accompanying music begins and ends abruptly, just like the scenes changes in some instances. Camera movements are clumsy at times. The movie is completely "dubbed" (in Spanish, that is) the way some Italian movies were made, and so the movie doesn't feel natural because of the lack of ambient sound. I assume that the only occasion that we get to hear Julio's ambient voice is at two thirds of the movie, when before his friends he grabs a guitar and sings the first line of "Life goes on", to show them how it's supposed to be sung.
The movie intends to be more a comedy that a drama, which is surprising, considering the topic involved. However, done with style, this movie would have functioned marvelously. As it is, the movie comes and goes from life drama, romantic drama and comedy, without succeeding in neither aspect, mainly because it has no depth at all.
All this formal and technical flaws should not be blamed on the longevity of the movie, because by the year 1969 the movies had great advance in those fields (but, to be honest, I'm not that familiar with the state of the Spanish cinema of that time).
Actually, I think that all is due to the main intention of the filmmakers: that this movie would serve simply as a vehicle to promote Julio Iglesias, regardless of the technical quality. And maybe, in that purpose, it fulfilled its objective. At least, we have to recognize that the movie is honest in that aspect: it wanted to promote its star, not try to turn him into an "actor".
As such vehicle, and as it is customary with other movies that try to promote artists, the main objective is to put whole songs that the singer performs (lip-synchs, I should say) to the delight of his fans. Sometimes they are comfortable attached to the story, but sometimes they are forced into it. By the way, in this case, the songs are from the record "Yo canto": "I sing", "Someone who passed by", "In a barrio in the city", "Little girl", "I had a guitar", "Some years ago" and of course, "Life goes on". Except for the first one, the rest are alternate versions. (Note: I translated the Spanish names due to this site restrictions, that don't allow to write many foreign words).
In spite of the formal flaws, I must say that Julio's performance is not bad. Convincingly, he represents the fragile, confused and bitter character that comes after the accident, and then the bright and happy individual that surfaces when the strength and the love come back to his life. Of course, he is performing himself, and some would say that then there is no merit in that. But we have seen some other examples like this in the past, with very bad results.
What happens is that, in spite of everything, those who saw this movie years ago, even if we were very young, and those who liked Julio Iglesias' music since that time, could not despise this document. It's a nostalgia affair, more than anything else. Therefore, this movie has a reason to exist and be seen only for the old fans of Julio, specially those who liked his record "Yo canto". Those without this qualifications, should steer clear.
A final note: I think this movie is only available through the collection "100 años de oro de cine español". It's region 2 and PAL system. The sharpness and quality of the transfer are surprisingly good, although the sound is just satisfactory. Moreover, this version has no subtitles whatsoever.