21 April 2001 | khatcher-2
Predictable tragical tremendism
Starting from the Spanish saying `Hay amores que matan' there are loves that kill - Rafael Arozarena used his native Lanzarote background to write a tragic drama novel placed uncomfortably in the 30s and 40s. I say `uncomfortably' because the Spanish Civil War, only fleetingly mentioned in passing, takes only a very slight part in the development of the story. A beautiful `Mararía' (Goya Toledo) falls in love with an English geologist (Ian Glen) and becomes pregnant, making the young Basque doctor (Carmelo González), who is most definitely in love with her, exceedingly jealous. But it is not until after a six-year interruption due to the civil war that the film reaches its predictable and tragic outcome. The classical triangle structure. Nothing remarkably special, either in the story or in the actors. Underlined by the fact that Goya Toledo is definitely much more beautiful in real life than in this film. What is attractive is the scenario: the island of Lanzarote, the fourth largest island in the Canary Group. It is largely on volcanic soil such that the old lava flows can be used for rather unusual cultivation techniques, such as lush-green spring onions growing in black soil; or those little green bushes growing at the bottom of round shallow holes, which are in fact wine bushes and produce a tasty natural wine, mostly at the island's principle wine centre, Mozaga, a few kilometres north east of Yaiza, where most of the film is shot. The wine bushes grow out of these shallow man-made holes so as to be protected from the wind, which is a constant factor on Lanzarote. But these holes also have the double effect of being useful for collecting the dew which then trickles down to the base of the plant as the sun comes up. The newer volcanic areas form the part which is now called Timanfaya National Park, just 3 kms north of Yaiza, offering landscapes which are practically desert. No, the camels were not imported for the film: they form one of the long-standing tourist attractions on the island. Also of certain interest is some of the music played by local people in the bar using local melodies, including a dance version of a `jota'. Apart from that, Pedro Guerra´s musical apportation was rather like the rest of the film: predictable tremendism and lacking that touch of harmonious good taste. The film has its interesting points, but all in all it does not quite succeed in getting you into the story. I can only give it 5½ out of 10, being a little generous.