THANK GOD for a DVD publisher with taste
socrates17 | New Jersey/Tanelorn 2008/9 | 04/01/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"When I saw this as part of a Lincoln Center festival of films from Spain, I was convinced I would never see it again and focussed on the acting of the players with whom I was familiar, Carmen Maura and Federico Luppi giving a staggeringly menacing preformance. I also loved the intricate plot and clean, but involving visuals. And, there was Laia Marull. With no other evidence, I cannot make my usual claim that her character, brilliantly played, was a Philip K. Dick Dark Haired Girl (see my other reviews) but nonetheless she displayed the callous lack of human feeling attributed to the archetype.It was not until it was to my complete and utter joy and surprise that it came out on DVD (in the U.S., of all places) that I was able to focus on the low key, but wonderful performance of Sergi Lopez. No wonder he got the Goya.If there was a Goya for DVD companies this company should get it..."
Well crafted drama-thriller
LGwriter | Astoria, N.Y. United States | 07/21/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"A traveling salesman, whose merchandise is porn videos, meets an older woman who's on the run from her husband. If that's all this film were, it's possible it could have some merit. But it's far more than that. The woman's daughter is just as emotionally ruthless as her father; we learn that when the daughter, the son, and the woman's father catch up to the salesman and the woman on the road. Add to that a previous affair the woman was having with her husband's business partner and, more than anything else, the woman's own very peculiar emotional state, and what's on display are some very well thought out psychological twists and turns.These machinations are complicated further when the husband, played by the great Spanish actor Federico Luppi, shows up to harass his wife. The business partner has died in a horrific car accident and had left some critical information on a tape in the possession of the woman. Was it really an accident or was it instigated by the husband? Is the husband completely ruthless, strictly focused on business, or is he insanely jealous because of his wife's affair? These unanswered questions, rather than being a source of frustration, are the real meat of the story, and the director, Antonio Hernandez, handles them very well indeed.The woman, played by Almodovar regular Carmen Maura, is excellent in her very demanding role. Is she crazy? Terrified? Both? Or something else? The ending does much to answer these questions, but it's a shocker and a good one.Recommended."
Highly suspenseful Argentine/Spanish co-production
Penumbra | Atlanta, GA USA | 10/11/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Joao (Sergi López), a traveling salesman working a route between Spain and his native Portugal, has a life changing experience when he meets Berta (Carmen Maura). Berta is a wealthy, middle aged woman whose car has broken down somewhere down the road. She has no wallet and has been walking for a long time without sleep or food. Without explaining why, she begs Joao for a ride to Lisbon. We know nothing of her background, but her desperation to get to Lisbon as soon as possible is palpable. Against his better judgment, Joao reluctantly agrees to give her a ride as far as a Portuguese border town.
Several times Joao tries to abandon Berta, but he finds he cannot leave her stranded. At one point, Berta passes out from hunger giving Joao an opportunity to go through her address book. He makes a call to let her son know that his mother seems ill and what stop on the highway he can meet them. As members of Berta's family arrive, the plot and motivations begin to unfold.
Lisboa is a highly suspenseful film that reveals itself gradually throughout the film. The cast is excellent, especially Sergi López (El laberinto del fauno / Pan's Labyrinth) and Carmen Maura (Volver). Veteran Argentine actor Federico Luppi is deliciously sinister as Berta's mysterious husband.
This is a highly suspenseful and rewarding film as the story and the characters' motivations gradually unfold.
Spanish with English subtitles. The DVD also includes a "making of" feature.