Thursday, April 21, 2016

Broken (orig. Rotas) [2016]

MPAA (UR would be PG-13)  Fr. Dennis (4 Stars)

IMDb listing
Official Facebook
Official Dance Company Page

Cine y Tele article* story about stage production artículo sobre producción teatral* entrevista con Luis Lorente / Paloma Gomez*

Broken (orig. Rotas) [2016] (written and directed by Luis Lorente) is a SPANISH FLAMENCO-BASED film about domestic violence that PREMIERED recently at the 32nd (2016) Chicago Latino Film Festival.

I went to see the premiere -- in attendance being both the director Luis Lorente as well as the two lead ballerinas Paloma Gómez and Raquel Gómez -- in part because this Festival showcases not only dramatic films from Latin America but also film homages to other Latino contributions to the Arts.

In years past, I've seen two wonderful documentaries about the rich musical traditions of Cuba [2012] and Peru [2013] (the first I reviewed, the second though _excellent_ I did not); a surrealist homage to a, well ;-), surrealist artist (Alejandro Colunga) from Mexico [2014]; and a Chilean biopic about poet Pablo Neruda [2015].  This year's [2016] program featured a couple of documentaries about the music of Paraguay [1] [2] as well as a documentary named Gabo: La Magia de lo Real [2015] about the life and work of famed Colombian writer Gabriel García Marquéz.  Ever having to choose, I chose to go with seeing the lovely / fascinating Cuban "indie" film Espejuelos Oscuros [2015], and then the current film (from Spain) which presents its story, in part, in the idiom of Flamenco dance.

The current film is adapted from a stage production with the same name and about the same theme.   Yet as a top quality screen adaptation, the film takes advantage of the possibilities offered offered by film medium as opposed to simply the stage.  Thus the film weaved together three types of presentation:

There are stage-acted vignettes that set-up the the stories of Celia (played / danced by Raquel Gómez and voiced by Amparo Climent) and Consuelo (played / danced by Paloma Gómez and voiced by Luisa Gavaza) two women abused by men in their lives.

There are the danced emotional responses of these two women to the situations that they find themselves in.

Finally, interspersed in the film are testimonies of various women who actually endured the kind of suffering / abuse portrayed in the story.

Further, the film makers took full advantage of the possibilities offered by presenting the story by means of a camera:  Thus Viewers are offered visual (point of view) perspectives on the story as it plays-out that would be simply impossible to offer to Viewers simply seated in a theater watching a stage production. 

North American Readers here with some experience of watching some of the "Met-Live" productions offered by would understand some of the benefits (closeup / alternative POVs + interview possibilities) offered to Viewers watching a staged event in this, a screen form.  Further, as opposed to a "Met-Live" video production, the film here is a well crafted, definitive, indeed "canonical" product.  Hence it has also taken advantage of the possibilities of multiple takes / editing.

The lovers of Stage productions will, of course, find some sadness in that -- the Spontaneity _inherently present_ on the Stage has passed through and been largely Removed (except where it has been Approved) by a Censor (er ... "Editor" ;-).  Yet a film print of such a Production becomes that Production's "Final" or "Best / Canonical" product.  And a film offers advantages (some enumerated above) over those possible on Stage.

So this is a very interesting and thought-provoking production about a theme -- domestic violence -- that itself produces much to think about / discuss as well. 

As such it is a truly stellar quality product and I do hope it becomes available on DVD or various streaming platforms (vimeo, iTunes, Netflix, Amazon Instant Video) soon enough.

Excellent job!   

* Foreign language webpages are most easily translated using Google's Chrome Browser. 

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