29 April 2019 | ma-cortes
Emotive drama about childhood and love with engaging interpretation , breathtaking cinematography and acceptable direction
This Spanish picture is an agreeable story with an interesting characterizing about a few characters , drama , romance , and colorful scenarios . In 1939, in a French prison camp, José Garcés of the defeated Spanish Republican army raises the spirits of his fellow prisoners by telling some own tales , and his colleague and narrator (Eusebio Poncela) sets out to find an adult Valentina (Maria Rubio) . As he tells the story of becoming a man in 1919, the year he realized that learning to live is the same as learning to die. Set in a village in a lower Aragon , northeastern Spain . The year he was 8 years old, 1911, in a small village lives Pepe Garcés (Jorge Sanz) , Ramón J. Sender's alter ego . He is a rascal, and roguish little boy , dealing with his relationships to his parents (Saturno Cerra , Conchita Leza) and love for Valentina (Paloma Cela) . On his roof top at night he sends semaphore messages to her. He writes poems and becomes a poet . He gets them into trouble, killing her daddy Don Arturo (Alfred Lucchetti) 's breeding pigeons . Shortly after , the two families camp at a decaying castle, and his preceptor , a likeable priest (Anthony Quinn) teaches him some brooding issues , around life , as well as Maths , Pitágoras theory and anything else . Already a Young , he learns a lesson about being a hero.
The film starts in 1939 with José Garcés is in French prison camp after the defeat of Spain's Republicans to entertain and inspire his fellow prisoners, as he tells tought-provoking stories. This is first agreement between TVE (Spanish Televisión) and national production to shoot films based on contemporary novels of the Spanish literature. This one is based on ¨Crónica del Alba¨ by Ramon J. Sander , being divided in two parts : ¨Valentina¨ and ¨1919¨ , being realized both in similar artistic and technician team .The film contains human drama , emotion , amusing events , complemented with a feeling loving story . These elements provide the setting for this piece of dramatic deeds , giving it its own special quality and ambient . In addition , there are brief exploration about way of life of a little town . There stands out the enjoyable interpretation , atmospheric photograpy and evocative production design by Felix Murcia . Starring Jorge Sanz gives a good acting as Pepe the mischievous kid baffling his father, always in trouble, and in love with Valentina : Paloma Gómez , his neighbor girl and cousin . In real life Jorge Sanz and Paloma Gómez married and , recently , Paloma Gómez sadly passed away . And extraordinary Anthony Quinn as a sympathetic priest who tells him about the most valiant men, the saints, the heroes, and the poets .
It displays a colorful and evocative cinematography by Juan Ruiz Anchia , though being really necessary a perfect remasterizing . Anchia has been making a prestigious career in Hollywood , such as Close range , House of game and River runs black , here he shows splendidly the impressive landscapes .Including filming locations as Guadalajara, Castilla-La Mancha, Teruel, Aragón , Zaragoza, Aragón . Sensitive and emotive musical score by Riz Ortalani , with a catching but extremily repeated leitmotif. The motion picture was well directed by Antonio Jose Betancort (1942-2006) who was born and died in Tenerife , Islas Canarias . He was a good filmmaker , little prolific , he wrote ¨Los Dias del pasado¨ by Mario Camus , only directed the following ones : his film debut , ¨Sentados al borde del mañana con los pies colgando¨ with Miguel Bosé , ¨Valentina¨ with Anthony Quinn , its following ¨1919 Cronica Del Alba¨ . 15 years after , he made ¨Mararia¨ in his natal region, Tenerife , Canary islands . And TV episodes for series as ¨Juglar y Reina¨ and ¨Paisaje Con Figuras¨ . Rating : 7 , better than average , worthwhile watching .