Review: ‘Hugs and Kisses’

Debuting Spanish director Antonio Maria Garate's "Hugs and Kisses" approaches complex themes of fraternal love and the conflict between political convictions and emotional loyalties. The drama's serious intentions are undermined, however, by hokey, soap-operatic plotting and some awkward acting, probably limiting its circulation to European TV. Some gay fests also may partake.

Debuting Spanish director Antonio Maria Garate’s “Hugs and Kisses” approaches complex themes of fraternal love and the conflict between political convictions and emotional loyalties. The drama’s serious intentions are undermined, however, by hokey, soap-operatic plotting and some awkward acting, probably limiting its circulation to European TV. Some gay fests also may partake.

Still disappointed that her beloved older brother, Tono, was too busy to come home to Pamplona for her 20th birthday, Maritxu receives word that he’s in the emergency ward of a Madrid hospital. She arrives in time to watch him die from injuries sustained during a beating from neo-fascist skinhead assailants in a park the previous night.

Unsatisfied with the efforts of the police inspector assigned to the case, Maritxu begins her own investigation. She shacks up in Tono’s old apartment, quickly kindling romantic sparks with his former roommate, Juan, and friction of a less agreeable kind with Juan’s brother Ricardo.

Realizing her brother was gay, Maritxu begins to visit the scene of the attack, looking for clues. Help comes from effeminate park regular Uve, who tends to stray cats and presides like a magic spirit over the nocturnal playground. When Maritxu’s investigation leads her back to Ricardo, he reveals the unbridgeable gap between his feelings for Tono and his political views.

The pic is visually sharp and competently directed, but too many of its major dramatic junctions are telegraphed by a clumsy script that painstakingly spells out its points about intolerance. Rampant overacting doesn’t help.

Hugs and Kisses

(SPANISH)

Production

A Garate/Television Espanola TVE production. (International sales: TVE, Madrid.) Produced by Antonio Maria Garate. Directed, written by Antonio Maria Garate.

Crew

Camera (color), Teo Delgado; editor, Garate; music, Jose Sanchez-Sanz; art direction, Ana Llena; costume design, Teresa Mora; sound, Paco Peramos; assistant director, Nuria Lapastora. Reviewed at Rotterdam Film Festival (noncompeting), Jan. 31, 1996. Running time: 88 MIN.

With

With: Maria Bornaechea, Rafael Santamaria, Angel Ruiz, Concha Grau.
Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 0

Leave a Reply

No Comments

Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

More Film News from Variety

Loading