Review: ‘Your Name Poisons My Dreams’

A great title hitched to a thoroughly mediocre period detective thriller, "Your Name Poisons My Dreams" is more sleep-inducing than intoxicating.

A great title hitched to a thoroughly mediocre period detective thriller, “Your Name Poisons My Dreams” is more sleep-inducing than intoxicating. One of two new features unveiled in San Sebastian by helmer Pilar Miro, this bloodless retelling of a love-and-revenge tale set between the Spanish Civil War and postwar Madrid is far too pedestrian in its structure and execution to make much of a showing beyond national borders.

Adapted from a novel by Joaquin Leguina, story opens with police inspector Paco (Angel de Andres Lopez) meeting his ex-colleague Angel (Carmelo Gomez) at a funeral. Action then flashes back to 1942, when the duo were investigating the murder of three Falangists who laid low in the deceased’s home during the civil war. Enter his daughter Julia (Emma Suarez), whose recollections shift the action back another notch to the war years.

As their encounters blossom into love, Julia fills in Angel on her younger years, when she worked with a variety revue and had a secret relationship with Jaime (Toni Canto), an idealistic young communist who was eliminated by fascists. The real solution is telegraphed at an early stage, but Angel continues to dig beneath appearances while he investigates the vendetta killings that followed Jaime’s death. Despite all the intrigue and passion here, the

operation has the feel of the most inert TV drama, complete with lumbering pace and meticulous period re-creation that lacks any style or visual depth.

Miro’s by-the-numbers direction spills over into both the look of the film, which is crisp but anonymous, and the approach to performance. Suarez and Gomez are capable but rather stiff, with the sexual charge of their love scenes

registering on a minus scale.

Your Name Poisons My Dreams

Spanish

Production

A UIP release (in Spain) of a Sogetel/Central de Producciones Audiovisuales production, with participation of Sogepaq, Canal Plus. (International sales: Sogepaq Intl., Madrid.) Produced by Rafael Diaz-Salgado, Jose Luis Olaizola, Fernando de Garcillan. Directed by Pilar Miro. Screenplay, Ricardo Franco, Miro, based on the novel by Joaquin Leguina. Camera (color), Javier Aguirresarobe.

Crew

Editor, Maria Elena Saiz de Rozas; music, Jose Nieto; art direction, Gil Parrondo; set decoration, Carlos Dorremochea; costume design, Pedro Moreno; sound (Dolby Digital), Carlos Faruolo; assistant director, Jaime Botella. Reviewed at San Sebastian Film Festival (competing), Sept. 22, 1996. Running time: 121 MIN.

With

Julia Buendia - Emma Suarez
Angel Barciela - Carmelo Gomez
Paco Valduque - Angel de Andres Lopez
Lola - Anabel Alonso
Jaime Mendez - Toni Canto
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