4 December 2005 | khatcher-2
From poetic novel to sordid sex
If on the one hand Antonio Gala can be considered one of the best writers of real literature in Spain today, and is also one of the leading connoisseurs of Islamic history and culture, and on the other José Luis Alcaine is one of our best directors of photography and José Nieto one of the best composers for TV and films, and we add to all this that Ana Belén is not at all a bad actress as well as being a very accomplished singer, either alone or with her husband Víctor Manuel, one could say that this film was destined to be memorable.
However, Vicente Aranda, who may be considered one of our most representative film directors today, just does not hit it off with this film. I think mostly because somewhere along the line in transition from being a literary novel of subtle poeticness to being a somewhat crudely and hurriedly concocted passionate love affair in seething sithering Istanbul, especially laid on for Spanish tourists judging by the San Miguel beer spread out on the street-side café, quite a lot of deliberate delicacy got lost.
The result being a rather top-heavy show of macho bravura unbefitting intelligent women in today's modern Spain or anywhere else in Europe. The overbearing macho tendencies attributable to Islamics just does not fit in: the film becomes 'trasnochada' even before it starts.
I have seen this film about three times, unfortunately: and each time I like it less. Maybe it is because I suffer from acute manias with everything associated with Islamic mentality. Perhaps. I will not argue that: and of course accept that all manias are rather silly, especially including my own. But the fact remains that I was not brought up believing that women were like cattle and thus to be treated similarly. And that is what purportedly this film is bent on showing. Definitely one of Ana Belén's more important roles, but I am afraid that in this film things go dreadfully awry.