Emilio Ruiz Barrachina’s over-ambitious, affected debut “In the Shadow of Dreams” is not among the rough diamonds of low-budget Spanish cinema. An incoherent script combines a third-rate murder mystery, art history and oddball romances in a deeply confused, poorly played project. To the benefit of all concerned, “Dreams” will probably stay in the shadows both at home and offshore.
Rafael Obregon (Juan Carlos Naya) awakes from a coma blind, amnesiac and accused of the murder of a politico’s daughter, Paloma Rios (Mariona Ordonez). Inspector Gonzalez (Carlos La Rosa) is put on the case. In the hospital, doctor Nieves (Eloisa Martin) falls for Rafael, while nurse Elena (Angeles Macua) spends her evenings talking to an absent poet. The last thing Rafael saw before he blacked out was a painting by Hieronymus Bosch, and the scenes in which this is re-enacted are delightfully absurd in their pomposity. Only la Rosa and Martin are able to salvage any dignity. Clumsy flashbacks and unconvincing dream sequences abound, dialogue shuttles between the quasi-philosophical and the risible, and the sheer bizarreness of the finale is sublime. Sound quality on print caught was poor.