Review: ‘Perfect Happiness’

Pic collapses entirely under the strain of yoking two films together.

“Perfect Happiness” is two films in one. The first, potentially interesting if plodding and oversanitized, shows the impact of Basque politics on the life of a teenage girl who’s unwillingly gotten involved. The second is a star vehicle for local tube presenter Anne Igartiburu. Pic collapses entirely under the strain of yoking the two together. The presence of Igartiburu will provoke some interest at home, but prospects elsewhere are limited.

Pic is set across different time periods. At 15, Ainhoa (Aia Kruse, one to watch) witnesses an execution by Basque separatist org ETA and is photographed by a journo seconds later. She does not see the killer, but most people don’t believe her. The older Ainhoa (Igartiburu, sometimes unwatchable) becomes a technically accomplished but soulless pianist involved with a security guard (Alberto Berzal). Her self-repression can be traced back to the earlier episode. Scenes featuring the younger Ainhoa are fine at getting across the personal and social tensions of living under the threat of terrorism, but there is little to distinguish Igartiburu’s scenes from those of a thousand turgid soaps as she sexily suffers and sprawls on black-and-white bedsheets.

Perfect Happiness



A Pausoka Entertainment production in association with ETB. (International sales: Pausoka, San Sebastian.) Produced by Itziar Zeberio, Unai Martinez-Barranco. Directed by Jabi Elortegi. Screenplay, Anjel Lertxundi, Pedro Fuentes, Oliver Elder, Elortegi.


Camera (color), Gonzalo Berridi; editor, Julia Juaniz; music, Angel Illarramendi. Reviewed at San Sebastian Film Festival (Zabaltegi New Directors), Sept. 25, 2009. Basque dialogue. Running time: 90 MIN.


Anne Igartiburu, Aia Kruse, Alberto Berzal, Elena Irureta, Felix Arkarazo.
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