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Souvenir

Catalan director Rosa Verges made some ripples in the festival and arthouse pond with her breezy 1990 debut, "Boom Boom." She mines similar territory in "Souvenir," a well-choreographed chain of comedic coincidences that's sold short by its halting rhythm.

With:
Yoshio - Futoshi Kasagawa Rita - Emma Suarez Elvira - Anna Lizaran

Catalan director Rosa Verges made some ripples in the festival and arthouse pond with her breezy 1990 debut, “Boom Boom.” She mines similar territory in “Souvenir,” a well-choreographed chain of comedic coincidences that’s sold short by its halting rhythm. Congenial but sluggish romantic comedy is reportedly headed for an editing rethink, and with tightening to increase its verve and accelerate its momentum, it should make a toothsome tube item.

Flying into Barcelona, Japanese tourist Yoshio (Futoshi Kasagawa) takes a fancy to stewardess Rita (Emma Suarez). Following their arrival, they reclaim identical suitcases, and after he persuades her to pose for a souvenir photo, she unwittingly flits off with his luggage.

Before he can track her down to switch suitcases, Yoshio is hit by a car, leaving him with no memory aside from the name Rita, and no grasp of Spanish. The road to rehabilitation becomes an escalating spiral of misadventures (including virtual adoption by Rita’s unsuspecting mother), inexorably steering the helpless visitor toward love.

Sweetly amusing upshot identifies the amnesiac as a humble postman who won the suitcase, camera and European jaunt on a TV gameshow.

Kasagawa provides an affable comic anchor, but Suarez reps something of a weak link, her lack of establishing scenes and shortage of screen time cheating the film of an adequate romantic target.

Despite frequent injections of the same freshness Verges brought to her first feature, there’s a fatigued quaintness about her material here that stymies its theatrical chances. Tech input is generally fine.

Souvenir

Spanish

Production: A Lauren Films release (Spain) of an Avanti Films production in association with Canal Plus Espana, Television Espanola, Television de Catalunya, Ministry of Culture, Generalitat de Catalunya, with support from the European Script Fund. (International sales: Europex, Paris.) Produced by Rosa Romero, Victoria Borras. Directed by Rosa Verges. Screenplay, Jordi Beltran, Verges.

Crew: Camera (color), Flavio Labiano; editors, Quim Boix, Marisa Aguinaga; music, J.M. Pagan; art direction, Rosa Ros; costume design, Maria Gil; sound (Dolby), Miguel Rejas; assistant director, Alexandra Palau; casting, Teresa Estrada. Reviewed at Cannes Film Festival (market), May 16, 1994. Running time: 89 MIN.

With: Yoshio - Futoshi Kasagawa Rita - Emma Suarez Elvira - Anna LizaranWith: Pepa Lopez, Emilio Gutierrez Caba, Merce Pons, Simon Andreu, Enric Majo, Eulalia Ramon.

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