21 October 2018 | euroGary
Flawed, arty, but watchable
'Quién te Cantará'/'Who will Sing to you' is essentially a film about four women: the two main characters and the two major supporting ones. But it does not strike me as being particularly a "women's picture", nor, thankfully, one that is railing against "the Patriarchy" or similar.
Lila is a former pop singer who stopped performing ten years ago, following the death of her mother. Now (sporting a desperately unflattering hairstyle) she lives in a beautiful beach house that is financed by album royalties. But those royalties are drying up so a comeback tour is planned. Disaster strikes when, just a few months before the tour, Lila "faints in the water" on the beach and develops amnesia.
Violeta is a huge fan of Lila. A talented songwriter, she gave up hope of a showbiz career when her daughter was born. Now working as a bartender in a karaoke bar, she finds some small pleasure in impersonating Lila's performances in YouTube videos. The real, amnesiac, Lila sees one of these videos and dispatches her manager Blanca to secure Violeta's services to teach her "how to be Lila".
After Lila, Violeta and Blanca, the fourth woman is Violeta's daughter Marta, and it is with her the film has its biggest flaw. Marta, a young adult, is such a one-note villain she would not be out of place in a pantomime. She is lazy, has no sense of responsibility, boasts to friends of sexual encounters with their boyfriends and repeatedly uses threats of self-harm to get Violeta to do her bidding. With the exception of the businesslike Blanca, none of the characters are particularly realistic in their behaviour - but Marta takes it to Olympic levels. Although she is allowed a couple of redeeming scenes - we see her apologise to her mother for a tantrum that included smashing a treasured signed Lila album - she is an unbelieveable soap opera villainess.
Director/screenwriter Carlos Vermut has made this a fairly arty film - there are several lengthy shots of people doing nothing and a pair of thick-soled stiletto heels are often placed prominently in shot as some sort of recurring theme. But the story is interesting and holds the viewer's attention - even if he does find himself sighing in exasperation whenever the hysterical Marta appears onscreen.
Seen at the 2018 London Film Festival.