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Goodbye from the Heart

Though pleasant enough in a gentle, rambling way, the third part of vet Jose Luis Garcia Sanchez's state-of-Spain trilogy, which began in 1995 with "Whispers of Spain (and Portugal)," shows the formula wearing thin. All major participants belong to a previous period of Spanish film history, and the project is suffused with a fusty air. Scriptwriter Rafael Azcona, responsible for some of Spanish cinema's keystones, can turn out this kind of thing with his eyes closed and here seems to be doing exactly that, with fest dates beckoning at most.

With:
With: Juan Luis Galiardo, Laura Ramos, Jesus Bonilla, Neus Asensi, Maria Luisa San Jose, Teresa Gimpera, Juan Echanove, Pedro Miguel Martinez.

Though pleasant enough in a gentle, rambling way, the third part of vet Jose Luis Garcia Sanchez’s state-of-Spain trilogy, which began in 1995 with “Whispers of Spain (and Portugal),” shows the formula wearing thin. All major participants belong to a previous period of Spanish film history, and the project is suffused with a fusty air. Scriptwriter Rafael Azcona, responsible for some of Spanish cinema’s keystones, can turn out this kind of thing with his eyes closed and here seems to be doing exactly that, with fest dates beckoning at most.

Lovable rogue Juan (Juan Luis Galiardo) lives alone, reliant on money from gambling and from blackmailing the various women he has seduced, including Paulina (Maria Luisa San Jose) and Alicia (Teresa Gimpera). One day wannabe athlete Caty (striking Cuban thesp Laura Ramos) turns up at his apartment, claiming to be his daughter by a conquest in Havana 20 years earlier.

Caty wants Spanish residence and is offered help by cop Pepe (Juan Echanove). He’s just been left by Juan’s daughter Carmela (Neus Asensi) for bisexual hairdresser Tony (Pedro Miguel Martinez).

The typical Azcona-ish, picaresque tone kicks in when Juan is contracted by greasy crook Pozueta (Jesus Bonilla), Alicia’s husband, to go to jail in his place. Pozueta falls for Caty and offers to marry her, but to do this he’ll have to get divorced. Again Pozueta does a deal with Juan, this time to video Alicia in bed with her new lover.

Pic thus combines standard farce with satire that lacks punch. Any point that the script may have wanted to make about the injustices of immigrant life are destroyed by Caty’s enforced marriage to the repellent Pozueta, a role tailor-made for Bonilla. Other perfs are only adequate, though Galiardo won best actor award at this year’s Malaga fest. Plotline is full of situational cliches and an excess of dialogue.

Goodbye from the Heart

Spain

Production: An Alta Films release (in Spain) of an Alma Ata Intl. Pictures, Galiardo Producciones, Gaila, Rafael Azcona production, with participation of Antena 3 TV and Canal Plus. (International sales: Alta Films, Madrid.) Executive producer, Jose Maria Calleja. Directed by Jose Luis Garcia Sanchez. Screenplay, Rafael Azcona.

Crew: Camera (color), Alfredo Mayo; editor, Pablo G. del Amo; music, Carmelo Bernaola; art director, Miguel Chicharro; sound (Dolby Digital), Agustin Peinado. Reviewed at Cine Princesa, Madrid, June 28, 2000. Running time: 89 MIN.

With: With: Juan Luis Galiardo, Laura Ramos, Jesus Bonilla, Neus Asensi, Maria Luisa San Jose, Teresa Gimpera, Juan Echanove, Pedro Miguel Martinez.

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