Chilean Cinema 2013 #12: Gloria (2013)

(Chile, Spain 2013 110m) Cine Hoyts La Reina

p Andrea Carrasco Stuven, Alejandro Castillo, Luis Collar, Juan Ignacio Correa, Martín Cárcamo, Mariane Hartard, Rocío Jadue, Juan de Dios Larraín, Pablo Larraín, Héctor Zamora Covarrubias, Sebastián Lelio, Gonzalo Maza d Sebastián Lelio w Sebastián Lelio, Gonzalo Maza c Benjamín Echazarreta ed Sebastián Lelio, Soledad Salfate

a Paulina García, Sergio Hernández, Diego Fontecilla, Fabiola Zamora, Coca Guazzini, Hugo Moraga, Alejandro Goic, Liliana García, Antonia Santa María, Luz Jiménez, Marcial Tagle, Álvaro Viguera, Cristián Carvajal, Marcela Said Cares, Pablo Krögh, Eyal Meyer, Tito Bustamante, Francisca Concha, Gloria Laso, Eugenio Morales, Barbara Mundt, Alejandra Campos, Soledad Borquez, Alex Lavin, Sergio Acevedo, Macarena Saquel, Jorge Rodríguez

After an incredible success at the Berlin Film Festival in January of 2013, where it was praised by the critics as one of the best films presented there, and also won the silver bear for best female performance, given to the wonderful work of Paulina García. Beyond that international antic, the film received a quick and strong release in Chile a few weeks ago, where it has amassed over 100.000 viewers, unprecedent for a chilean movie that is actually a drama (not since ‘Vioileta se fue a los cielos’ (2011) there’s been a success this big for a film that wasn’t a comedy) and with a smart placement in certain segments of the population, with a release the same weekend of Mother’s Day, maybe one of the smartest moves of movie planning that there’s been in the longest time of marketing in the movies at Chile, where most parents and kids brought their own mothers to see a film that most likelywill treat them to, and the success continues, with the highest per screen average every week, and I’m really happy that a film like this can have certain economic success. Maybe I’m a bit sad at the end towards this film because it could’ve really been one of the greatest chilean films ever made and even among the best movies of the year, but it shyes away from that prospect by wandering off the most important and creative instances that the movie offers by itself, why, oh, why movie?

Gloria is a mature woman, she is divorced and lives alone in a department, from where she drives to work every day, humming or singing along the old songs that the radio spurts out. Every other night she goes out to senior clubs, where people of certain age can come together and dance to the songs of yesteryear, have a drink and meet up, it’s a classic here in Chile how certain pubs and discos put certain nights away as “classic” or “senior” nights, when they just want to say that they are putting old music and inviting all the old people to go and meet up, hook up or whatever happens. It is one of these nights that Gloria finds an interesting man, he is the owner of an extreme park where you can jump on bungee, do some paintball and other activities related, yet he is also a lonely man, divorced just as Gloria, who is also looking for something different in his life, and that’s how our movie starts to move… or not… Well, here’s the main problem I have with this film: it has an interesting premise with this couple that seems to be boiling, the man is strange as he disappears at critical moments in their life as a couple, he leaves the birthday party of one of her sons, and he also seems desperate to bring her back, just so we know again that he doesn’t seem to be able to dettach himself from his former wife and her two grown-up daughters, and that chemistry presented there is amazing and so so interesting, specially in the ways that is performed by the two leads. But then becomes clear the ‘theses’ of the film, where the director has said many times that Gloria is some sort of ‘supporting character in the lives of others’, and here’s where the main story dilutes in the midst of other ‘not-as-interesting’ plot points that most of the time aren’t fully resolved nor thought out in a narrative manner. Most of the time it seems… a pretension, that it wants to say something else, about the life in Santiago, in Chile, about the society, about the social crisis… but all that is just passing water in comparison to the meat of the character, that appears only in scenes with her lover.

It’s a shame, I’m not saying that the movie should’ve been only her and him, but there is a limit to the kind and moments of importance given to certain elements of the film in comparison to others, there is a heavy-ness and weight given to certain scenes that are just not as interesting or important to her, just to give way to an inner theses that maybe should’ve been left out once the movie started rolling and the performances gave something much more important than any other pretension: an accurate portrayal of the feelings of a woman of that age. That is its saving grace.

8/10

2 responses to “Chilean Cinema 2013 #12: Gloria (2013)

  1. Beautiful review here Jaimie! Fantastic work! Lucille and I did see this on Friday night, and I was most impressed with this Casevettes-styled film and the extraordinary performance of Paulina Garcia. No wonder it won at the Berlin Film Festival! You do a tremendous job defining Gloria and how she eventually pulls her life together.

  2. Pingback: Gloria, Young Mr. Lincoln, Oscar Nominated Animated Shorts and upcoming ‘The Complete Hitchcock’ on Monday Morning Diary (February 17) | Wonders in the Dark·

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