Mararia has it all...!
Penumbra | Atlanta, GA USA | 04/08/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This movie has every element of a classic telenovela, the lovely young maiden, the villain, witchcraft, romantic triangles, lust, lost love, betrayal, illegitimate children, tragedy, alcoholism, madness, despair, murder and more! However, Mararia is saved from being just another potboiler by a well crafted plot and a set of strong characters. Mararia doesn't come off as a soap opera -- it's more like a tragic gothic novel along the of "Tess of the D'Ubervilles" or "Jude the Obscure."The story opens as the handsome, young doctor, Fermin, arrives on the beautiful but eerie island of Lanzarote. In some ways the island is a paradise. In other ways, as Fermin points out during his first tour of the volcanic lava fields, it can also appear to be hell. One morning, as Fermin stands on the roof of his home he spies a lovely young girl hurrying into the kitchen. He races down the stairs and encounters the gorgeous Mararia, who happens to be his housekeeper's ward. Fermin is a fairly straitlaced, conventional sort with a high opinion of himself. He downplays his feelings until he can get a sense of Mararia's worthiness of his attentions.After Fermin stitches up the knife wounds in his first patient, a rejected suitor of Mararia, she confides to him that she has no interest in the local boys. She is saving herself for a man who will be able to take her away "to the big island" -- or perhaps even farther. For a time, it looks as though the romance between Fermin and Mararia is inevitable. But a triangle develops when a dashing British geologist arrives on the island and becomes Fermin's house guest and romantic rival. The story is fleshed out with a wonderful array of supporting characters. Fermin's housekeeper (and Mararia's guardian) happens to be a skilled practitioner of witchcraft, voodoo, and the healing arts. She is a pleasant enough woman, utterly devoted to her surrogate daughter. There also is the island's "town drunk" with whom the other characters, who should know better, always entrust some seemingly small yet pivotal duty. Mararia is a dark, gripping story that should hold the viewers attention."
Penumbra | 04/22/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is the rendition in film of Rafael Arozarena's novel "Mararía". Filmed in the island of Lanzarote(Canary Islands,Spain),where the novel takes place, the movie has an amazing photographic work that earned it, deservedly, the Spanish equivalent of an Oscar. The views of the strange landscape of this island are simply spectacular and are well integrated into the film and complement the story in a meaningfull way. It is worth seeing just for that, although the historical reconstruction, the music, and the acting are also worth noting. The soundtrack, created by a well known musician from the Islands, incorporates musical forms from the folkloric tradition of the islands with more modern forms. Unfortunately, for those who actually read the novel that originates this screenplay, the adaptation does not live up to the richness of the novel and, quite frankly it betrays it in some cases. My recommendation for Non-Spanish speakers: get the subtitled version."
Bizarre Plot... but with a few too many Zzzzz's
Penumbra | 08/20/2001
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Beautiful, mysterious scenery, gorgeous cinematography, great acting... only one thing missing... a truly good reason on why this plot deserved almost two hours of my time. The fact that "Mararia" looked pretty couldn't hide the fact that the pacing was incredibly sluggish, so much in fact that ALL THREE of the people I was watching this film with fell asleep at various points of the movie. This could be attributed to sleepiness, or the fact that the movie has that affect on people. Despite the fact that you empathize with the characters, the plot twists keep plunging deeper and deeper into the bizarre and disturbing. The finale seems out of the blue, without a real lead-up, or genuine character basis, taking away from all notions of empathy we had for anyone onscreen. If you happen to like this kind of strange, surreal psychological mayhem, you might actually enjoy this movie, if it doesn't make you want to take a nap through most of it first."