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‘Ramona’: Karlovy Vary Review | Reviews

‘Ramona’: Karlovy Vary Review |  Reviews


Director / scr: Andrea Bagney. Spain. 2022. 80 minutes

The spirit of the French new wave lives on in Andrea Bagney’s feature film debut Ramona, a black-and-white set in Madrid of the identity struggles of a budding female actress who charms and irritates in turn. Built around a striking performance from the Spanish multi-hyphen Lourdes Hernandez (best known in Spain as the singer Russian Red), Ramonahis mix of a quirky and engaging heroine with the cinematic nostalgic and the emotionally updated has led to a pickup of Best Friend Forever ahead of his appearance in KV’s new Proxima competition, with probably more festival appearances.

Hernandez is always a captivating presence in a role that requires a number of registers

The over-the-credits photos signal that this will be a tribute to the Spanish capital, as we are treated to a series of lovingly composed photos of Madrid landmarks (including, for nostalgic football fans, one of the old Atlético de Madrid stadiums). torn). Ramona (Hernandez) – named, we learn, after the Bob Dylan song her parents loved – is a nanny and translator, living with the long-suffering chef Nico (Francesco Carril). Ramona strikes up a bargain with older Bruno (Bruno Lastra, tall and gray-bearded, like an imitator of the Spanish king) in a wonderfully lively conversation that touches on climate change, anxiety and the evil of smoking. Ramona is set up as neurotic, fragile and unfocused.

They say goodbye, but, embarrassed wearing a blonde wig, Ramona then shows up at a casting session for a film that Bruno happens to be directing. Scenes shot through Bruno’s lens are in color, suggesting that art is more real than life – a place of postmodern playfulness as Bagney, who always makes Ramona express herself more authentically when she turns to Bruno’s camera, wants to revive .)

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Bruno wants Ramona in the movie because he likes her; she rejects him because she wants to be recognized for her abilities. Although Ramona ends up taking the role, the casting session starts a will they / will they strand between her and the charming but selfish and manipulative Bruno (he is after all a film director) which will lead to a lot of tragicomic awkwardness and will last a long time set to the end.

The early scenes are the strongest because they are the funniest and most spontaneous. But after her encounter with Bruno, the insecurity begins to attack Ramona, and both the tone of the film and the character begin to darken. She worries about her relationship with Nico, whether she should choose freedom or responsibility, whether she should have children or not: all the standard cinematic millennia that Ramona recreates for 2022, but as the script does not particularly refresh.

Hernandez is always a captivating presence in a role that requires a number of registers. The shadow of the deaths of Ramona’s parents in a car accident, fleetingly revealed to the camera during a casting and not directly addressed until a late, powerful monologue, hangs heavy over things and subtly dictates most of what the eternally anxious Ramona says and does – including falls for an older man and wants to be known as ‘Ona’ – as she struggles to decide to live a real life and one that is just performance. Russian Red fans get the chance to hear Hernandez deliver a karaoke version of Rocio Jurado’s heartbreaking classic about unrequited love Like an oil which, though appropriate, is overwhelming.

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Judging from RamonaBagney has stylistic connections to another Spanish director, Jonas Trueba, if You have to come and see it also plays Karlovy Vary and who also has Francesco Carril. They share a common interest in both the millennial uncertainties of the t-shirt in tough hair and in cinema as a self-reflexive medium: the film’s credits dutifully show the (newer, Spanish) films whose posters appear on the characters’ flat walls. But there is a feeling that Bagney in her desire to pay tribute to her influences has given herself too little creative space to breathe, so that scenes that smell of cliché pile up – the slow-motion dance at the nightclub, the view from behind a picture of Ramona as showers, the symbolic departing train.

Many of the film’s most eye-catching moments are made up of the eerie use of inflated Beethoven and Tchaikovsky, while Pablo Barce’s editing is snappy and eye-catching. But the real winner in Ramona is Madrid: the care and attention that Bagney and DP Pol Orpinoll Freixa show lavishly in capturing the details of the city they love is similar to the early Almodovar.

Production Company: Tortilla Films

International sales: Best Friend Forever [email protected]

Producers: Sergio Uguet de Resayre, Andrea Bagney, Antonio Pedrosa

Cinematography: Pol Orpinoll Freixa

Production design: Carmen Main

Editing: Pablo Barce

Starring: Lourdes Hernandez, Bruno Lastra, Francesco Carril

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