13 June 2006 | jotix100
Victor and Valentina
This Mexican film directed and written by Jose Buil and Marisa Sistach, takes us back to the beginning of the last century to the times when the country was at the brink of the revolution that took place in the 1910's in that country.
We meet Victor, the son of the owner of a small circus that travels the back roads of Mexico bringing their kind of entertainment to the masses. Victor is befriended by Guy, a French man, who brought one of the Lumiere cameras to the country and shows his films to the unsophisticated crowds. Victor falls in love with the technology and Guy, sensing the young man's eagerness, is happy to part with his camera.
At the same time, we are taken to Valentina's house, where her father is preparing pamphlets that are pro-Madero, who is in exile in San Antonio. As the police raids the place, Valentina is able to hide in an attic with the money that has been collected for the cause. After she flees the house, she ends up at the circus. Victor takes a liking to the young woman; it's clear he has fallen in love with the innocent girl.
The saga of Victor and Valentina as they elude the police that is on her trail is at the center of the action. The atmosphere of the circus and its performers comes alive in the film. Victor's father is a dying man and he expects his son to keep his trade, but the young man has been bitten by the bug of the cinema as he films whatever strikes his fancy with the primitive movie camera.
The DVD we recently watched was almost impossible to see because of the dark tones used by the cinematographer, Gabriel Beristain. Most of the time was hard to distinguish the actors against the mainly night action of the film. One can't imagine if it was the directors intention, or just the way it turned out, but be warned that most of the images are almost lost in the dark backgrounds.
Victor Luna, a talented actor, is Victor. Ana Claudia Talancon plays the beautiful Valentina. Carmen Maura makes an appearance as Lupe, Victor's father companion. Patrick LeMauff is Guy, the French man who introduces Victor to the world of cinema.