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Sevigne

A potentially unappealing premise -- neurotic crises among middle-aged members of Catalonia's chattering classes -- is made quirkily attractive in the bubbly low-renter, "Sevigne." Pic deserves sidebar exposure at fests.

A potentially unappealing premise — neurotic crises among middle-aged members of Catalonia’s chattering classes — is made quirkily attractive in the bubbly low-renter, “Sevigne.” Helmer Marta Balletbo-Coll’s third feature is a vast improvement on her second, “Honey, I Sent the Men to the Moon,” largely thanks to being set in an instantly recognizable world of real people with real problems, and a clutch of superior performances. Pic deserves sidebar exposure at fests.

Legit director Julia Berkowitz (Anna Azcona) is married to critic Gerardo R. Valcarcel (Josep Maria Pou, the paraplegic priest in Alejandro Amenabar’s “Out to Sea”) and is having an affair with younger Ignasi Basauri (Eduard Farelo). Writer Marina Ferrer-Amat (Balletbo-Coll) is trying to get her wildly noncommercial two-hander, “Sevigne,” produced, and approaches Julia, who finally accepts the job. Pic explores the various relationships thus opened up, and a witty yarn about the difficulties of finding a place for art in the marketplace modulates plausibly into a well-played lesbian love story. Perfs are mostly tops, especially from the superbly fruity Pou, though Balletbo-Coll’s attempt to come across as a Catalan Woody Allen grates after a while.

Sevigne

Spain

  • Production: A Sherlock Films release of a Costabrava Films production, with participation of TVC. (International sales: Kevin Williams Associates, Madrid). Executive producer, Ana Simon Cerezo. Directed, written by Marta Balletbo-Coll.
  • Crew: Camera (color), Elisabeth Prandi; editor, Ignacio Perez de Olaguer; music, Emili Remolins, Xavier Martorell, Albert Fernandez Garces. Reviewed at Yelmo Cineplex Ideal, Madrid, April 1, 2005. Catalan, Spanish, English dialogue. Running time: 82 MIN.
  • With: <b>With:</b> Anna Azcona, Marta Balletbo-Coll, Josep Maria Pou, Eduard Farelo.