A Big Spanish 'Hollywood Blockbuster' with Heart
Grady Harp | Los Angeles, CA United States | 11/20/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"LA NINA DE TUS OJOS is one of Fernando Trueba's greatest films to date. He has taken a story of an acting troupe (film production company) that flees Fascist Spain for an opportunity to make a 'really huge' film in Hitler's Germany - a country where the director and crew see opportunity in the grandeur of Hitler's expensive self-promotion films. Once there, they discover the sad facts of the Hitler regime, facts which come to play in the crew's choice of gypsy extras to play parts not credible with the German Aryan candidates they encounter. One among these gypsies is a Russian Jew who is ultimately befriended by the troupe and makes their mission to make it big in film less important than to tend to humanity.
The cast is amazingly excellent through and through with exceptional comedic skills as well as dramatic ones. The head of the film crew is Blas Fontiveros (Antonio Resines) who functions with his German sponsors through the multilingual translator Vaclav (Miroslav Taborsky). The stars of the company are Macarena (Penelope Cruz at her best) and Julian (Jorge Sanz) whose love lives intermingle with the project at hand (Macarena with Blas, Julian with any available fan including Henrich - Gotz Otto!). The production falls under the eye of the evil Dr Goebbels (Johannes Silberschneider) who tries to seduce Macarena.
Others in this talented company include roles for Rosa Maria Sarda, Santiago Segura, Neus Asensi, Loles Leon, and Karel Dobry (as Leo, the tender salvaged Russian Jew).
To some this may appear as yet another Hollywood-type, behind the scenes type movie, but with this cast and the sensitve direction of Trueba it is so very much more. Beautifully photographed and scored, this is a film that deserves a wider audience - especially if you love films from the always creative Spanish cinema. Grady Harp, November 2004"
Funny, clever, even possible!
R Prieto | 07/15/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This film was a great surprise for me. I had no idea it existed until I saw it at the local store ("already-viewed" and at a reduced price) and had to buy it. A Spanish theater troupe is invited to Nazi Germany to film a musical in both Spanish and German. You can just imagine what ensues when their expectations are met with the reality of Nazi Germany!
This film is quite funny, with many ridiculous situations. In addition, if you are a Penelope Cruz fan, you should watch her singing scenes! Nazi Germans are trashed by the Spanish theater troupe. The film director (who also directed the wonderful film "Belle Epoque") cleverly mixes everything up until there is no way back but ... I am not telling you more."
Beautifully recreated 1930's period piece
Enrique Torres | San Diegotitlan, Califas | 02/19/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This was a very entertaining film , that won many awards in it's native Spain but for some reason was not released in the United States. Thank God for DVD's or I might never have experienced this fine spectacle. Taking it's cues and paying respect to the great films of Hollywood, with a closing scene reminiscent of Casablanca (Two-Disc Special Edition), witty comedic dialogue throughout, much like the Marx Brothers The Marx Brothers Collection (A Night at The Opera/A Day at The Races/A Night in Casablanca/Room Service/At the Circus/Go West/The Big Store) and gala musical scenes found in Rogers & Hammerstens movies like The Rodgers & Hammerstein Collection (The Sound of Music / The King and I / Oklahoma! / South Pacific / State Fair / Carousel), makes this movie quite memorable. Diretor Fernado Trueba, best known for his comedy Belle Epoque delivers what has to be one his best movies. Without spoiling the movie, it would be suffice to say it takes place in Germany during Hitler's Third Reich. The movie is actually factual in basis as a number of Spanish movies were made in Germany during Hitler's time. The movie further unfolds and developes like this. A Spanish film group is making a movie under the ever watchful eyes of the German leadership. Other actors are allowed to be in the movie, treated less than humanely and one leading man, who happens to be a Russian-Jew catches the eye of the leading lady, played by Penelope Cruz,as the lovely Macarena. Various outlandish scenes ensue as the ensemble cast from Spain tries to make a movie. There is alot going on between the various actors and it all makes for a madcap movie. This is Spanish black humor at it's finest. Of particular note is the fine performance by Antonio Resines X (Equis) as the director, known as Blas and Penelope Cruz Open Your Eyes who plays the irresistible Macarena. Her singing and dancing scenes(flamenco) reveal her multi-talents go beyond a pretty face. If you are a Penelope Cruz fan, as I am , than you will love this movie. Everything about this movie is top-notch, the sets, the costuming, the script,the directing; it's all here for the complete package.Recommended for foreign film aficionados and fans of La Pe, the girl of my dreams."
Good Spanish film that isn't overly ambitious
warhead | United States of Authoritarianism | 03/23/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"La Nina...has it's moments. Like with many ensemble casts this satirical comedy lacks cohesiveness. There are some decent extra features, including a documentary and outtakes.
The film involves a small, struggling Spanish film company during the late 30's invited to Berlin's UFA studios ostensibly to shoot a propaganda tale about an Andalusian hero, in both German and Spanish versions. But Nazi Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels (Johannes Silberschneider) just wants to seduce the starlet Macarena Granados (Penelope Cruz) and without her acquiescence...the films will not be made.
A memorable scene is when Goebbels - whom Macarena nicknames "Go-Balls" - invites the frightened girl to an exclusive dinner for two at a restaurant with requisite string quartet. I don't know if Goebbels had a limp in reality but Silberschneider is a riot (and I think he steals the show) in his portrayal of a lecherous, corrupt cripple. The Minister tries to woo her while dancing and when she breaks her heel, forcing her to limp, I just about fell down from laughing. I can never watch another cable documentary on the Nazis without "Go-Balls" popping into my head, like an unwanted erection.
Penelope Cruz is luminous in her song and dance scene. The camera loves her...and so do I...uh, that's for another review. She shows a wonderful comedic sensibility throughout the film.
An entertaining WWII-era romp, not without substance, but more importantly with Ms. Cruz."