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Wedding Day

Starting with "Once Upon Another Time," Spanish vet writer-director Juan Pinzas remains the only filmmaker in his country who has made Dogma '95-approved films. But he doesn't bring anything new to the Calvinist ascetic in his second Dogmatic turn, "Wedding Day."

Starting with “Once Upon Another Time,” Spanish vet writer-director Juan Pinzas remains the only filmmaker in his country who has made Dogma ’95-approved films. But he doesn’t bring anything new to the Calvinist ascetic in his second Dogmatic turn, “Wedding Day.”Rather, Pinzas’ pic works over what have become overly familiar Dogma drama themes and concepts inside the setting of an emotionally charged wedding celebration. With no star names attached, limited distrib invitations will be received only from upscale Latin territories after last fall’s Iberian release.

In some cases — the rollicking “Strass” from Belgium, most successfully — non-Danish cineastes employing Dogma tactics have been able to bring their own personal and cultural distinctions to bear, demonstrating that the style is more than a Scandinavian stunt hatched by Lars and the gang.

But Pinzas fails to bring pic enough of a Spanish attitude, allowing pure melodrama to dominate, along with an excessive dose of expository dialogue.

Bride Sonia (Comba Campoy), daughter of wealthy publishing tycoon Alexandre (Ernesto Chao) and mother Xosefina (Belen Constenla), is to wed author Rosendo (Monti Castineiras), whose past and marital motives — the match presumably improving his chances of winning a top literary prize, over which Alexandre holds considerable sway — are the talk of the wedding party.

Rosendo’s movie biz pals cynically chuckle about how Sonia doesn’t know that her new husband “swings both ways, and likes meat and fish,” while Sonia increasingly relies on her fortune-telling lesbian aunt Rosa (Rosa Alvarez) to guide and warn her of troubles ahead.

“Wedding Day” ends up being little more than a gossip’s wet dream, with almost everyone around Sonia revealing one kind of funky sexual secret or another, all of them designed to seriously mess up her Big Day. Pic’s most unfortunate suggestion is that homosexuality is less something to be tolerated and more a device to add wild plot complications.

The ensemble works up a lather, but appears a tad beaten up and bewildered by the time the last emotional missile has been launched.

Pinzas relies more on his script than his mise en scene and interaction with his cast to generate the raw energy expected in the typical Dogme film, leaving matters rather wanting in the end. Vid lensing is merely average, but locales in the coastal city of Vigo provide a seductive counterpoint to the human folly.

Wedding Day

Spain

  • Production: A Cinema Indiegroup S.L. release (in Spain) of a Pilar Sueiro and Atlantico Films production with the participation of TVG and Cinema Indiegroup. Produced by Pilar Sueiro. Directed, written by Juan Pinzas.
  • Crew: Camera (Fotofilm Madrid color, DV-to-35mm), Gerardo Moschioni, Tote Trenas; editor, Corte Digital; music, Juan Sueiro; sound (stereo), Johnny Bleep; assistant director, Michael Aguilo. Reviewed at L.A. Latino Film Festival, July 24, 2003. Running time: 106 MIN.
  • With: Rosendo - Monti Castineiras Sonia - Comba Campoy Alexandre - Ernesto Chao Nacho - Miquel Insua Rosa - Rosa Alvarez Beatriz - Pilar Saavedra Xosefina - Belen Constenla Padre Xacinto - Alfonso Agra <b>With:</b> Javier Gurruchaga, Asuncion Balaguer, Juan Manuel de Prada.
  • Music By: