Spanish Film Festival Review: Carmina and Amen (Carmina Y Amen)

Spanish Film Festival Review: Carmina and Amen (Carmina Y Amen)

A deserved winner of Best Screenplay and Best Supporting Actress at the Malaga Film Festival, this film cries out to be seen by a wider audience.

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CarminaandAmenThis beautiful, beautiful film stars Carmina Barrios and is directed by her son, Paco Leon. Certainly it is a vehicle for the wonderful Barrios, yet it is so much more.

It is (sadly) remarkable, that all of the major characters in this piece are women. Maria Leon, sister of Paco and daughter of Barrios, also plays her daughter in the film, and does an outstanding job. The chemistry between these two is obvious, and crackles from the beginning. They are at the core of the story, as mother and daughter, keeping father’s death a secret for two days, so that his bonus wages will still be paid. Surrounding them are knock-out performances from Mari Paz Sayago, Teresa Casanova, Marina Leon and many others. Even smaller roles, with only ten minutes on screen, made an impact, with intense and powerful characterisation.

At its heart, this film is about the extraordinary in the everyday. It reminds us that behind every plain, ordinary, middle-aged woman, there is a story, a strength and a passion for life. Even the humour in this film (and there are some laugh-out-loud scenes), is the humour of the everyday.

Although the situation at the heart of the plot could have been cause for slapstick, it was handled instead with finesse, subtlety and an eye for detail. There is not a missed beat. Even the music is perfect, especially the choice of Nina Simone’s version of My Way as the end song.

A deserved winner of Best Screenplay and Best Supporting Actress at the Malaga Film Festival, this film cries out to be seen by a wider audience.

I am going to buy it on DVD, and watch it once a year.

Cinematic bliss.

Reviewed by Tracey Korsten
Twitter: @TraceyKorsten

Rating out of 10:  9

Carmina Y Amen screens again on 15 May 2015 as part of the 18th annual Spanish Film Festival, exclusively at the Palace Nova Eastend Cinemas.

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