Our critics’ pool

‘Pain and glory’, ‘The infinite trench’, ‘While the war lasts’, ‘Intemperie’ and ‘What burns’ are the five feature films that will compete this Saturday for the Goya for best film. Already warming up for the gala being held in Malaga, our critics have chosen their favorites in four categories: best film, best director, best actress and best actor.

Poetry in images, communion with the environment, people and characters. Oliver Laxe’s cinema is here to stay and ‘What Burns’ deserves a second life on the billboard.

We will never thank Almodóvar enough for what he has done for our cinema. The filmmaker’s own ghosts, the fear of loneliness and pain, are present in a heartfelt story about the human soul.

She is one of our most prolific and chameleonic actresses, she works the same in drama as in comedy. Her tears in ‘The Infinite Trench’ are those of the viewer.

‘Who kills with iron’ deserved more presence at the Goya Awards. The Galician actor – also exceptional in ‘Advantages of traveling by train’ – defends a complicated role, between good and evil.

Almost two million viewers endorse this very correct although cold vindication of Unamuno’s lucid humanism in these turbulent times.

The prodigy of ‘Tesis’ is now 47 years old and each of his films is an event. Only he could destroy the stupid stigma of the overabundance of films about the Civil War in Spanish cinema.

The shining role of ‘The Infinite Trench’ is not that of the protagonist mole, but that of his wife, forced to pretend an entire life. The woman from Malaga shows that in addition to being a comedian, she has dramatic talent.

His third Goya would reward a composition that, beyond the makeup, draws on the enormous talent of a gifted actor capable of finding the Unamuno person.

Pedro Almodóvar turns his own ghosts and fears into the main plot of this exciting film about the twilight filmmaker Salvador Mallo, who must look to the past to face the present. The best film from La Mancha in the last decade.

Due to the uniqueness of his film and its brilliant staging, Almodóvar deserves the award for direction, an award that the Academy has withheld from him on too many occasions.

The queen of comedy in recent years shows that, in reality, she is an actress beyond the genre and with dramatic registers that were yet to be discovered. Surprising and powerful is her Rosa, the wife of a ‘mole’ of the dictatorship in ‘The Infinite Trench’.

Here it seems that betting on the man from Malaga is the safest bet. And his main role as Almodóvar’s alter ego in ‘Pain and Glory’ is simply memorable, contained and exciting. And furthermore, the Academy owes him this Goya after four previous nominations in which he came away incomprehensibly empty-handed.

Almodóvar’s most autobiographical film is a story as human as it is fascinating, in which the filmmaker exposes bits of his childhood and maturity, which he interweaves with invented passages. Since he is not going to win the Oscar, at least he receives the Goya.

Almodóvar says that since the film came out, he has noticed more affection from people. And it is difficult not to empathize with ‘Pain and Glory’, after all, the man from La Mancha has been filling our lives with cinema for years. At seventy years old, he has opened up and is appreciated.

The rollercoaster of emotions that Marta Nieto goes through in ‘Mother’ make it clear that we are dealing with an all-round actress. We already sensed it in the short that gave rise to the film, but the feature film confirms that Nieto crosses the screen whether she laughs or cries.

Nominated for the Oscar for best actor, the man from Malaga embodies the role of Salvador Mallo, Almodóvar’s own alter ego. During the film the similarities with the filmmaker from La Mancha are clear, but there is an almost magical moment and it is that telephone press conference in which Banderas transmutes directly into Almodóvar, the public Almodóvar, of course.

It is Almodóvar’s best film of all he has signed in this century. Neither the wonderful ‘Talk to Her’ nor the overrated ‘Volver’ are as round as this exercise of observing life from maturity through someone who has achieved everything but who cannot help but feel a feeling of emptiness. It is, without a doubt, the saddest film in the director’s filmography, unthinkable a few years ago and one that he would never have reached without going through all the previous ones (the most outstanding and the irregular ones). Among the great virtues, the ability to explain on the big screen the ravages of pain and the fact of making any viewer identify with a character as unique as Salvador Mallo (because of his fears, his frustrations, his concerns) . Structured as a succession of short stories, it grows as the film progresses, from that first encounter with his professional past (face to face with one of his favorite actors) to the end in which he faces his childhood and his omnipresent mother.

‘Pain and glory’ explains the filmography of the director from La Mancha in recent years: his obsessions, his setbacks, his vision of reality increasingly distant from the street. The filmmaker strips himself naked like he never dared before (not even in ‘The Law of Desire’) to tell a very particular story but one that speaks of universal themes and concerns, such as the passage of time, the fear of failure, the need to settling scores and the deterioration of our bodies. If this is the film with which Almodóvar gives an account of his life and his career, the Goya is doubly deserved because no one has done (and continues to do) as much for Spanish cinema and for the image of this country as he has. The minimum is to thank him with awards when he signs works as mature and complete as this one. How well actors like Banderas, Julieta Serrano or Sbaraglia are is also, without a doubt, their ‘fault’.

At the Feroz awards ceremony, Belén Cuesta thanked the directors of ‘The Infinite Trench’ for giving her the opportunity to take on a dramatic character, taking into account that in this country few opportunities are usually offered to actors to make transfers. of genres. Those who are good at drama usually don’t find holes in comedy and vice versa. Cuesta had more than demonstrated that she is an excellent comedian, but her role as Rosa de ella shows that the actress’s possibilities are also infinite. How well it captures the fear of an absurd war, how well it expresses what we are capable of doing for love, and how well it then evolves towards the situation of exhaustion and oppression to which her life is condemned. We like Belén Cuesta from ‘Paquita Salas’, and the one from ‘Kiki’, and the one from ‘La Llamada’. But the one from ‘The Infinite Trench’ warns of what this interpreter can do if they let her.

There is no doubt that this is the year of Banderas. And it deserves to be that way. His work in ‘Pain and Glory’ is excellent and part of the success that the film has achieved lies in him. He ran the risk of falling into a caricature of Almodóvar, but the actor from Malaga knew how to find the point (they must have helped him to be contained, because less is sometimes more) so that his character of Salvador Mallo remembered the director but also had his own personality that would allow it to be credible to the viewer. The interpreter surpasses with flying colors all the roles he faces in this film: that of the tormented director, that of the repentant lover, that of the self-conscious son… Circumstances also accompany this professional so that this year he does not miss the mark. Goya that he has never received (except for the Honor Award). The gala is held in his homeland and his first Oscar nomination acts as the best passport.

María Eugenia García Gil

Two films about the Civil War are up for Goya this year. While ‘As Long as the War Lasts’ focuses on more recognizable aspects of the conflict, ‘The Infinite Trench’ focuses on the intimacy of a couple who are forced to hide for three decades. Love as salvation and condemnation.

It would be the consolation prize for the most surprising movie of the year. Laxe, born in Paris, although with ties to the region, has managed to capture the rural Galician essence with exquisite sensitivity.

This is, without a doubt, the year of the Malaga actor. It would be fair if after being nominated for an Oscar for the first time for ‘Pain and Glory’ he got the Goya with the permission of Karra Elejalde in what is his fifth nomination, although he only has one Goya: the honorific that was awarded to him in 2015.

The actress performs like a fish in water in comedy, it couldn’t be better with a drama. The Film Academy must reward someone who has already become one of the best actresses of her generation.

It’s not hard to face yourself. Even less bare body and soul before viewers who have grown old watching your films. A brave film without fear of appearing vulnerable to the general public.

‘While the war lasts’ is not his best film. It’s probably not even in the top three. But if this category rewards something, it is the art of directing, of selecting shots, of choosing the perfect angles to visually enhance images like Unamuno’s speech with which the film practically closes.

Belén Cuesta will probably win but at some point we should recognize the hard work of this actress capable of continuing a character ten years later without losing a single nuance. Only a great company can face a challenge of these characteristics, twice, and do it in an outstanding way.

Who would dare to play Almodóvar while being directed by Almodóvar himself and being the same Almodóvar with whom he practically had the first roles? A masterful performance that generates hatred and sympathies. Like the director from La Mancha, right?

The best Spanish film of the year and one of the few independent film titles that have broken the vicious circle of marginal distribution in festivals and cinematheques. A journey to the heart of deep Galicia in which Oliver Laxe portrays the daily life of an arsonist who returns to ground zero of the fire that ruined his life.

In the year in which all the awards are distributed between Almodóvar and the trio who signed ‘The Infinite Trench’, I am betting on a losing horse with the choice of the director of ‘Lo que arde’, a filmmaker who is almost secret for multiplex viewers but is a regular at prestigious festivals such as Locarno, Cannes, Toronto or Karlovy Vary.

The third in contention in a select group of candidates among whom if anyone deserves to discuss Antonio Banderas’ favoritism is the Galician Luis Tosar. In ‘Quien a Hiero Mata’, by Paco Plaza, Tosar makes use of his profession and experience to create some of the most memorable characters of his career.

Like father, like daughter. The blood of one of the most renowned actors in Spanish cinema runs through the veins of the protagonist of Belén Funes’ debut film, which adds extra violence and verismo to the tortuous paternal-filial relationship established between Eduard and Greta Fernández. in ‘A Thief’s Daughter’. This should be the third Goya to grace the record of a family of performers in which Greta shines deservedly thanks to her interpretation of a girl who lives to survive in a hostile world.

Amenábar’s film immaculately recreates Unamuno’s position in the early days of the Civil War. Accused of being cold and equidistant about the conflict, the film does manage to reflect the humanist’s tribulations and his commitment to justice in the face of unreason.

Disdaining the slogan that Spanish cinema only films about the Civil War, Amenábar more than successfully emerges from the challenge and signs his best work in recent years with a film that does not seek tears.

Belén Cuesta shakes off the label of comedy actress with a performance that manages to be the most memorable part of ‘The Infinite Trench’. A sufferer inside and outside the walls of the house, she reflects the permanent tension of those women who experienced the collective punishments of the dictatorship.

His work in ‘Pain and Glory’ seems simple, with a role destined for the actor to shine. But Banderas manages to blend in with Almodóvar, to the point of tracing his gaze, at the same time that he imprints his own personality on it to reveal a character different from that of the director from La Mancha. A jewel.

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By adminn