Film & TV

Spanish Film Festival: The Movie Teller

Life in a small mining town in the Chilean desert in the 1960s is relieved by the joy a Sunday trip to the cinema.

A totally satisfying and immersive experience in the joy of cinema.

1966. A small mining town in the Atacama Desert, Chile. Young María Margarita lives with her parents and three brothers. While her father labours in the saltpetre mine, her beautiful, elegant mother, tries to maintain her role as homemaker, whilst dreaming of greater things. Every Sunday, the family enjoys an outing together to the local cinema. But when father Medardo loses his job, only one member of the family can afford to go. Eventually, María Margarita ends up narrating and performing films for the whole town.

Director Lone Scherfig has teamed with writers Isabel Coixet, Hernán Rivera Letelier, and Rafa Russo to craft a very special film, and one well worthy of being the opening night feature for this year’s Spanish Film Festival.

The Movie Teller‘s narrative runs until the mid 70s, following María Margarita as she lives through family tragedies, and the country’s tragedy with the Pinochet coup of 1973. It tries to do too much. It is too much story to tell in one film, and would make a sensational limited series. The last 30 minutes or so consist of scenes which feel like an end-point, but then along comes another one. And another. Every scene is superb, and this is a beautiful film from start to finish, but the rhythm just starts to go astray three-quarters of the way in. However, it is a testament to the writing, the directing, and the acting, that one forgives it these faults.

Sara Becker and child-actor Alondra Valenzuela share the role of María Margarita at different stages of life. Valenzuela comes away as the star of this film, giving a performance that truly lights up the screen. Various wonderful young actors take the roles of the three sons of the family, and they are all ably supported by veteran performers Antonio de la Torre as Mercado, Bérénice Bejo as mother María Magnolia, and Daniel Brühl as the local mine manager, Hauser.

The Movie Teller is rich, and moving, and gloriously flawed, but ultimately worth every minute spent in the cinema.

The Movie Teller screens as part of the HSBC Spanish Film Festival from until July 10th at Palace Nova cinema.

For further information, click here.

For screening times, and to book tickets, click here.

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