Monday, September 19, 2005

Belle Epoque

1994 Oscar Winner Best Foreign Language Film

Dir: Fernando Trueba (Year of Enlightenment)

Spanish sex romp. A young soldier deserts the army near the end of the Royalist reign and happens upon an old man and his four daughters. While Spain is gaining her Republic, the soldier is gaining his young ladies.

The movie is very sweet. And very smart. The freedom with which this artistic family approaches sex makes for a quite welcome turning of the tables, where the woman toy with the handsome young man's emotions for a change. The film clearly marks the characters' actions as products of the time, a product of revolution everywhere. That context allows us to grant actions to the characters that we might find, umm irresponsible(?), in other times and from other people.

There is some surprisingly well done historical/political things as well. An oppressive church and underserving aristocracy are sent up for ridicule by the bohemian main characters. A few touches of tradegy (including two suicides that bracket the story rather suprisingly) remind us that there is more going on here than a farce.

Just enough political commentary to keep things interesting, and some truly unique things to say about human relationships, make this movie very enjoyable. Refreshing may be the best word; something new, light but not empty, interesting, sexy but not sleazy. I applaude the Academy for recognizing a film like this.

And you get to see Penelope Cruz before she got hot.



Blogger ronvon2 noted on 9/20/2005 02:04:00 AM that...

Sorry to say, but I have never heard of this film. Sounds like a goodie. God bless the blog!