(aka 'Take My Eyes')
Directed by Icíar Bollaín
subject of domestic abuse hardly seems enticing, former actress
Bollaín’s second feature, which swept the board at Spain’s Goya
Awards this year, proves so committed and accomplished that any
initial misgivings are soon forgotten. We first find Pilar (Laia
Marull) sheltering in her sister’s house to evade her violent
husband Antonio (Luis Tosar), but when he agrees to attend group
therapy, the promise of change encourages her back. Despite
everything, she still loves him, and the great tenderness
between them at times means that all hope is not lost. Even so,
it’s worrying that her increasing independence, boosted by
training as a guide to the local art treasures of Toledo, seems
only to exacerbate his lurking self-doubt.
Every sinew of Marull’s extraordinary performance tells you of the fear Pilar carries around each day. The way she looks, holds herself, talks even, is utterly believable and wins our deepest sympathy. It’s not all black and white though, since her reluctance to give up hope that her husband will improve plays its part in prolonging the pain, while there’s also an underlying sense that Tosar’s uncontrollable anger (shaped by evident insecurity within Spain’s competitive macho society) also makes him a victim by endangering his closest relationship. Bollaín’s direction eschews empty display, hews close to the excellent performances, and builds tension to a seemingly inevitable moment of explosion. The final confrontation apparently shocked even the actors with its ferocity, but it’s a suitably riveting conclusion to a film that both leaves a knot in your stomach and offers much scope for discussion. Highly recommended.
Theatrical Release: September 24th, 2003 - San Sebastian Film Festival
DVD Review: New Yorker - Region 1 - NTSC
|DVD Box Cover||
CLICK to order from:
|Distribution||New Yorker Video - Region 1 - NTSC|
1.85:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 7.94 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s
NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.
|Audio||Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0)|
Studio: New Yorker Video
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
• "A Love That Kills"
Typical New Yorker DVD - most likely taken from the opposing standard without conversion first - hence there is evidence of associate artefacts - prevalent combing - although it is fairly fine and unnoticeable if watching via a CRT (cathode ray tube). Slight greenish haze over the image (typical of the transfer process they use). Optional subtitles are good.
There is a supplement - a film board of Canada 20 minute documentary featurette "A Love That Kills" - which discusses partner abuse and the warning signs. This film is quite touching with intensity always looming.
NOTE There is a DVD edition of this film available in the UK (HERE) but I don't know how it compares.