Review: ‘Salt Water’

The latest Spanish immigration-themed pic, erstwhile docu helmer Pedro Perez-Rosado's "Salt Water" is a well-observed, well-intentioned item whose quiet virtues go a long way to compensating for its lack of flair. Pic's point that not only immigrants are condemned to $3-an-hour lives in the brave new Europe is well-made, but ultimately too familiar to make much of an impact, especially outside the borders of Spanish-speaking territories.

The latest Spanish immigration-themed pic, erstwhile docu helmer Pedro Perez-Rosado’s “Salt Water” is a well-observed, well-intentioned item whose quiet virtues go a long way to compensating for its lack of flair. Pic’s point that not only immigrants are condemned to $3-an-hour lives in the brave new Europe is well-made, but ultimately too familiar to make much of an impact, especially outside the borders of Spanish-speaking territories.

Cuban Olga (Puerto Rican thesp Yoima Valdes) arrives on Spain’s east coast claiming to be on a scholarship, but actually destined for a local furniture factory run by an unnamed owner (Lola Molto) and her foreman Johnny (Juan Carlos Morales), who has an industrial-sized libido. Foul-tempered Mari Jo (Leyre Berrocal) also works there, earning a few extra bucks at night as a prostitute.

The harsh realities of immigrant life chip slowly away at Olga’s self-esteem, but the fire in her revives when she catches Mari Jo with Johnny in the warehouse.

Characters’ victimhoods — as workers, women and immigrants — are sledgehammered in without any let-up, and, although it may be realistic, it becomes monotonous .

Nonetheless, Valdes has a winning screen presence, andBerrocal increasingly wins sympathy for Mari Jo .

Helmer’s docu experience is revealed in the treatment here, with lensing mostly hand-held, but also in pic’s relentless, sometimes over-insistent, wish to get its message across — a message unrelieved by any humor. A gentle piano and guitar scoreunderscores mood to good effect. Pic features some Catalan dialogue.

Salt Water

Spain-Puerto Rico

Production

A Nirvana release (in Spain) of a Perez Rosado Producciones (Spain)/Trivision (Spain)/Viguie Films (Puerto Rico) production with the participation of TVC, RTVV. (International sales: Wanda Vision, Madrid.) Produced by Ximo Perez. Executive producer, John E. Viguie. Directed by Pedro Perez-Rosado. Screenplay, Lilian Rosado.

Crew

Camera (color), Miguel Llorens; editor, Vicente Ibanez, Rafa Montesinos; music, Carlos Varela; art director, Jero Bono; sound (Dolby Digital), Heriberto Rosas. Reviewed at San Sebastian Film Festival (Zabaltegi), Sept. 21, 2005. Running time: 94 MIN.

With

Yoima Valdes, Leyre Berrocal, Juan Carlos Morales, Ofelia Medina, Candela Fernandez. (Spanish, Catalan dialogue)
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