Blue Lips is an unusual project. Six characters, each one directed by a different, young director, intersect during the San Fermin Festival in Pamplona. Dialogue is mostly in Spanish, but also contains scenes in Italian, Portuguese and English, adding to the international feel of the movie. It’s not often you see an authentic, Hawaiian hula in a Spanish film!
Each of these characters comes from a different city around the world and each has lost something of themselves. They come to Pamplona for a variety of reasons, only one of which is to be a festival tourist. The others are there to shoot a commercial, write a magazine article, seek medical treatment and renew a ten-year old grave.
This film is difficult not to like. The characters are all beautifully drawn and performed, and the setting is undeniably rich. Stand-out performances included Simone Castano, Malena Sanchez and Mariana Cordero, and a special mention for Keona Cross, whose hula is worth seeing the film for.
However, the film is fraught with problems. The individual stories are all interesting, but limited. There is never a satisfactory explanation of Malena’s illness (or why she has to come to Pamplona, from Argentina, for treatment) or what happened to Kalani’s boyfriend, or why Sagrario has suddenly decided to cremate her late husband. There is also a lack of resolution to many of the stories. It is clear that all the characters are meant to walk away from Pamplona with some sense of healing, yet that sense was muddied. It almost felt as though the production ran out of money.
Yet, despite these problems, this film is worth seeing. It is an admirable project, resulting in a very enjoyable, if unsatisfying experience in the cinema.
And it will, undoubtedly, have people queuing for tickets to San Fermin.
Reviewed by Tracey Korsten