17 January 2011 | aharmas
Looking Back and Rediscovering Who They Are
This is a very impressive film. For all its quiet and introspective moments, the film offers a very comprehensive study of how people develop relationships through the years, mostly through the process of observation and communication. Sometimes, one might not listen enough, or might be avoiding the obvious, that which does not please us or satisfy us in a most immediate manner.
After Nora dies, it is up to her relatives to "pick up the pieces" and organize the proper funeral arrangements. Her husband Jose is the person who starts the process, only to discover that there is much he doesn't know about who his ex-wife really was. Gradually, we are introduced to many of the important people in Nora's life, learning how each of them related to Nora while she was alive.
At first, we get the impression, Nora's demise is a little illogical. When we first see her apartment, everything is properly located and organized, there a sense of compulsive behavior in the way everything seems too neat, and yet we discover her life was far from perfect. Soon, Jose must confront religious men to plan her funeral, and we sense plenty of tension, leading to some very uncomfortable moments that will make the arrangements difficult to carry out. In essence, it all seems to originate in the way Jose and Nora related to each other.
We have flashbacks that help us understand their past, beautifully presented, with faithful attention to period detail, to give us a good sense of nostalgia and the passage of time. There is also plenty of attention given to the way different people express their views and show their actions when dealing with Nora's death. There are several sweet scenes that show the level of closeness that existed between Fabiana and Nora, and we can almost believe that this relationship might have provided much comfort to Nora in times of need.
Soon, we also meet Ruben, the child who has much devotion for anyone he considers family. He has been in the middle of the conflicts and is much like his father, even though he resembles his mother. Watching him grieve is heartbreaking, and at times it is frustrating how hard it is for him to take a stand because of the love he has for both of his parents, his wife and children. He is the perfect embodiment of respect and devotion.
There is a fascinating performance by the man who plays Jose. He is able to show love, faithfulness, pain, loss, and many other feelings as the film reaches its conclusion. His eyes are extremely expressive and allows us to feel much more involved because we learn and we feel as he gets closer and closer to the truth. It is a magnificent and quiet performance.
"Nora's Will" is an interesting title because it is a play in words since the whole film is a reflection of what Jose says: "she wanted it all to be her way, perfectly planned to the last detail", and yet, we learn her life was at best fractured from early in her marriage. It's a series of contradictions, just life happens to be. The title is Spanish is "Cinco Dias Sin Nora" (Five Days Without Nora), and it's a bit on the ironic side because those five days are the ones when her presence is felt the most. Everyone is closer to her than they've ever been, seeing her, calling her, expressing her feelings about her, and finally tending to her every need.
Indeed, a beautiful movie.