Review: ‘Tatawo’

A leaden, pretentious tale of life in Barcelona's underbelly, Jo Sol's "Tatawo" fails to flesh out good ideas into anything resembling drama. Simple tale is made unnecessarily complex by script's desire to give everything a metaphysical flavor.

A leaden, pretentious tale of life in Barcelona’s underbelly, Jo Sol’s “Tatawo” fails to flesh out good ideas into anything resembling drama. Simple tale is made unnecessarily complex by script’s desire to give everything a metaphysical flavor, characters are across-the-board disagreeable and portentous art-school atmospherics are barely redeemed by occasionally good dialogue and a strong visual sense. B.O. at home has been poor, and pic looks suited to the occasional fest sidebar and sales straight to Eurotubes.

Hippies Simona (Mercedes Ortega) and Francis (Miguel Molina) return from India to Barcelona, where they set up a bar, Tatawo, where Simona dances, showing off her tattoo-covered body. Francis, feeling his spiritual work is not yet done, returns to India. When one-eyed Cuban Mariel (Alexis Valdes) is released from wrongful incarceration for drug-dealing, he takes over the bar and falls in love with Simona, even though Bicho (Paulina Galvez) loves him. Inserted Indian scenes, which do nothing to advance the plot, mostly involve Francis walking around and looking spiritual. Pic’s strengths lie entirely in its sensual, color-drenched visuals, as strong in the landscapes as in the love scenes.

Tatawo

Spain

Production

A Lauren Films release of an Agotadas las Localidades/Zeppelins Integrals Produccions production, in association with Via Digital. (International sales: Agotadas las Localidades, Barcelona.) Produced by Jordi Rediu. Directed, written by Jo Sol.

Crew

Camera (color), Angel Luis Fernandez; editor, Julia Juaniz; music, Lol, Mistery 707; production designer, Delia Adroer. Reviewed at Cine Conde Duque Santa Engracia, Madrid, Nov. 21, 2000. Running time: 89 MIN.

With

Alexis Valdes, Mercedes Ortega, Paulina Galvez, Miguel Molina.

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