Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Fernando Fernán Gómez, Eduard Fernández
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama
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Lee Armstrong | Winterville, NC United States | 08/22/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Director Fernando Trueba may not be the best known director from Spain, but his "Belle Epoque" did win the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film in 1999. "Shanghai Spell" is an interesting story that moves slowly & methodically toward its potent climax. Fernando Tielve plays the main character, a 14 year-old boy with artistic flare. In his 2nd film after "Devil's Backbone" in 2001, he's an interesting mix of dream-eyed lovesick adolescent and an astute observer of those around him. He befriends Capt. Blay, an old gentleman concerned about the toxic effects of smokestack emissions from a nearby factory who enlists the boy to draw a sick girl in the neighborhood to convince people of the damage being done by the smoke. Susanna, played by Aida Folch in her first film, is a precocious teenage girl suffering from what is apparently a light case of tuberculosis. The two have a teenage flirtation. Susanna's father is a freedom fighter named Kim who appears in black & white flashbacks that take him to Shanghai amidst intrigue. Although there are different versions of what happened from different characters, it appears that the father abandoned the family for another woman. Susanna's mother Anita is played by Ariadna Gil who has done a number of Spanish films. She is a blonde bombshell now relegated to taking tickets at the local movie theatre. The father's longtime friend Forcat played by Eduard Fernandez arrives bearing news of Kim, and then begins a surreptitious romance with Anita. The film tells an interesting story punctuated by the Shanghai flashbacks and climaxes with a bang. There doesn't seem to be any great moral or lesson. We meet the characters who are interesting, travel with them for a time, and then say goodbye at the credits. In other words, while it's a pleasant viewing experience, it isn't a particularly memorable film. It's a good one-night stand! Enjoy!"