Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The Sea Inside, best foreign film (Spain) 2004

Okay, so I'm years behind whether I'm reading books or watching foreign films.  They've stood the test of time and I'm catching up.  Yesterday's foreign film at the college was The Sea Inside,  to me a near perfect movie. The subject was serious and explored with humanity, depth and variety, emotional and moral as American movies almost never do -- as if American audiences can't handle really looking at a serious subject.  And the subject was a serious as possible: Ramon broke his neck at age 23, has been a paraplegic taken care of by his truly loving and sincere family ever since. It's been over 20 years, he doesn't want to go on living but he cannot commit suicide without help. They, for moral reasons and out of love for him, will not/cannot help him.

This is rural Spain. Old morals are strong, the Catholic church is strong, but so is the family.  In an American film the family would be messed up, dysfunctional. Not here, they are strong, they have given up much, but they are not resentful, somewhat unhappy, of course. But this is their brother/son, uncle.  He manages to find a woman lawyer who will take his case to court, she herself is ill and knows her time is limited. A rather simple neighbor woman falls for him, possibly out of her own need (a thread not explored), no one takes her very seriously. The story is simply told, the actors are all superb, especially Javier Barden as Ramon. The simply young woman is the one who comes to love him enough to understand that helping him die is the most loving thing she can do.  It's enormously touching. Each character is a good and  strong person in his or her own way.  Such people DO exist -- almost never in our modern hyped-up movie and story telling. A few movie makers and writers see the world as a harsh but compassionate place.  Bless them!

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