12 November 2001 | masken
Two people in love during a whole life, forever separated, coming back to life again: personal comments of the film
I've almost never seen a film so strong in its character as "Tiempos de Azúcar". This is a love story unlike any other about two people growing up together with entirely different passions and an unexplainable attraction for one another. The story would not be very interesting in itself if it wasn't for the excellence of the actors and the direction, a combination that reached for our hearts in the movie theatre in a way that brought out tears of passion. At the same time of being a romantic drama the picture gives the audience a fascinating lesson in 20th century Spanish history, as it stretches out during about 40 years from the death of Franco to the celluar phone culture of modern Western society. In the beginning of the film we see the two characters as they were, the two 10-year-old Spanish villagers grow up together. The boy without a father, trying to support his mother by working hard in the family bakery that he loves and his best and only friend, the little girl next door who's always trying to divert his attention from work to common pleasure. The young boy's, and eventually man's, dedication to his job in the bakery is explained by his needs for a safe and stabile world, stronger after the death of his mother. At the same time his childhood friend fights the dictator regime, takes a scolarship and enjoys a rich social life thanks to her indoubtable charm and beautiful appearence. Although she makes several attempts to create something other than mere friendship between them he won't let it go that far, even though many of his his old friends repetedly urge the young, kind workaholic to marry. After a few years, when his female soulmate finds someone else to share her life with, he realises that time has grown regretably short... The movie continues with the development of the little fishing village to the tourism capital of the Spanish westcoast, Benidorm, and portraits the male main character's whole life from birth to the eventual, dramatic, death. As a romantic drama it's a very good portrait of two people in a cultural environment that can seem very fascinatingly exotic for a child of the Western movie society. Still, it isn't very inventive and the movie is of course a lot worse than the book itself. To really get entangled with it the way I have takes some interest in Mediterranian culture and Spanish history. But anyway, due to excellent performances and art value this is a movie that really represents a beginning of a breakthrough in European regional film.