Valérie Donzelli’s La guerre est déclarée or cinema as therapy.

La guerre est déclarée poster

During the course of “Creating a video game project and design document”, our teacher, Carlos Llorente, told us about an adult-themed videogame with a very interesting concept, as an example of the moment in which video games are as narrative art, which tells the story of a 4 years old child suffering from cancer, and how his family confronts this challenge.

That game is “That Dragon Cancer“, and in turn, for having a similar theme, he told us about this movie, “La guerre est déclarée.

After seeing it and discover that its protagonist is in addition, the screenwriter, director and even makeup artist of the film, i have only compliments for her, another one of the “one man orchestra” that I admire so much in the world of the cinema, as they can be John Carpenter, Shane Carruth or Louis C.K.

But the most special thing about the film is its story, which is based on the real life of the protagonist couple. We begin with the tone of a crazy love story between young people until the drama unfolds in the family. And it seemed to me one of the best carried dramas in recent years, not having big stars in the cast nor big commercial apirations, they can afford to include real emotions, without approaching the manipulating melodrama that could be expected.

It is filmed with great freshness, and invites us on a journey plagued by good times and bad times, as life itself. And what to say of the couple protagonist, having lived themselves the story, they deliver a memorable performance.

A great example of how it should be done a dramatic story in the film industry without interference from agents who do not seek the best for the film.

As a curiosity, was selected by France to represent them in 2011 in the pursuit of oscar, but did not reach the final round, although that year came out as winner “A separation”, another huge dramatic film in which there is much to learn, both in the world of cinema and of the human being. What a harvest.

I leave you with the trailer :

And a link to buy it.

Koldo Serra’s Gernika and the paradigm of the survival of the cinema…

Two weeks ago he managed to release his second film, “Gernika”, released in 2016 after 4 years of hard work, one of the most interesting directors of our country, Koldo Serra.

Of those who do not do like everyone else, not known by almost anyone and do not give them hype. As expected, after 2 weeks on board, has been relegated to sunday morning session at the cinema where I could see it, and another single session at 16:00 in another suburban cinema.

The first one, “The Backwoods”, i think i remember that it didn’t even came out here in Zaragoza, although checking the date i see that i was studying in Barcelona, so if i couldn’t see it on big screen i imagine that I wouldn’t be aware and having followed the project in its beginnings and much later be released without promotion, i didn’t realize. I could see it recently, thanks to the file-sharing software because it seems to be discontinued, and I found more or less with what I expected, another more for my collection of dear “rednecks movies”, adding to “Deliverance”, “Straw Dogs” or “Furtivos”. Perhaps the huge expectations that the project created me in its beginnings (I just discovered the first 2 of this list and i was entranced by the genre) and the amount of years it took me to see it made it impossible for me to love it. I liked it, but I had the illusions of finding something more wild.

For “Gernika”, his second film, i have been able to enjoy, for the first time in my life, of a totally “private” projection, since it’s the first time I’ve been completely alone in a movie theater, a real pleasure.
The only thing that could have improved it is to have been able to enjoy a copy in original version, especially in a story like this, with so much character with accent in different language, And despite the fact that the dubbing was not bad at all, you lose a lot in the experience.

But … this unbeatable condition to enjoy the seventh art, unless you are accompanied by equally respectful people like you, is a stumbling block to the survival of the cinema. I had already been lucky, but always accompanied, of being in projections where there was no other spectator, but this time the entire movie theater was for me. My years of experience have made me see that in almost every session you have at least one rude person that defiles the compulsory silence of the room, either because they do not know how to consume food they seem to need to enjoy the movie, because they has verbal incontinence or as Nacho Cerdà warned when presenting one of his Phenomena in our city, the pitiful progress in the mobile phones what sometimes seems that the room is a garden of fireflies. Talking to a friend told me that Lars Von Trier had already dealt with this problem in the short filmOccupations“, but the idea of creating the ultimate gore attraction against bad manners in a movie theater remains in my head.

Returning to the topic of this post, Koldo Serra with this second movie achieves for me, even with some aspects that have not convinced me, enter the group of films that best deal with the subject of our civil war, with permission of “La vaquilla” or “Pan’s Labyrinth”, From a clear perspective of the democrat side but without abuse of the demagogy in which everyone is either bad or good according to the “side” from which the film was cooked.

The film manages to immerse ourselves in the drama of the republican press office that worked in Gernika, in the border with France, area in which the international press tried to enter to cover the Spanish civil war. Very interesting characters are built, it has a beginning that immediately captures my attention and the key scene of the bombardment is, like the rest of the film, directed in a superb way. The cast works quite well, but to my taste everything is overshadowed by how the camera is managed by its director.

Buuuuuuut, just as it happened to “Pearl Harbour” (By the analogy of a film based on a famous bombing), The script is shipwrecked by forcefully introducing a love triangle that distances us from the plot that really matters to us, as happened in that one and in so many and many times in which it is believed that the love story is necessary to reach the public.

At the same time, some specific moments of dialogue got me out of the story, but I found it the least of his “problems” and it’s the hardest thing I find and i value more in any screenwriter, giving birth to “authentic” dialogues.

Except these two aspects that did not convince me, it seems to me one of the best period films of our country and one of those that best portrays the lowest period of our history.

I leave you with the international poster, much more stylish than the one used in our country, and the trailer.

Gernika poster internacional

Link to Filmaffinity.