Friday, May 16, 2014

Film on Friday #14 - Tanta Agua

Tanta Agua is the first feature film of writing and directing duo Ana Guevara and Leticia Jorge. It was a winner at the Miami and Guadalajara Film Festivals.

Divorced father Alberto (Nestor Guzzini) takes his children Lucia (Malú Chouza)and Federico (Joaquín Castiglioni)to Salto, the spring water capital of Uruguay, for a vacation together. They leave in the pouring rain, arrive in the pouring rain and it continues for the first few days of their trip. (Tanta Agua translates as too much water)

Tanta Agua is in Spanish with English subtitles, but even without the subtitles, you would be able to read Lucia's unhappiness a mile away. She doesn't want to be there. Her father's attempts to engage, to have fun and to spend time together are either tolerated or rebuffed. She seems determined not to enjoy herself. Federico seems to go along with his sister's mood much of the time. The rain does eventually let up and every member of the family finds someone outside of their family to spend time with.

Guevara and Jorge give us a poignant look at father/child relationships that rings so true. The dedication of the film is to the director's fathers, leading me to wonder if Lucia's character had a bit of their own lives mixed in. It was interesting to watch this film as a parent. Alberto never stops trying to reach Lucia and the most moving moments of the film are when they finally share something. And Lucia laughs and smiles. It is a marked difference from the countenance she presents most of the film. Alberto's demeanor changes as well with that small offering.

The sound of the rain constantly falling was used effectively and underscored the damper the weather and the children's attitude has brought to this vacation. I though all three actors were wonderful, natural and realistic, Tanta Agua is a sweet little film about family and relationships. The pacing is slower and that may frustrate some viewers. I actually thought it mirrored real life very well.

The bonus film that is always included with Film Movement releases was a great tie in. Home Road Movie follows an English father's joy in taking his young family on road trip vacations. As one of his children remembers, the view changes as the child reaches adulthood and realizes what the car and trips meant to his father. Excellent short, very moving.

2013 Uruguay 102 minutes. Spanish with English subtitles.

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