The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: La Novia

Welcome back to another installment of The Good, The Bad (either Michael-Jackson-bad or Michael-Bay-bad) and The Ugly (a name I am somewhat regretting because Clint Eastwood). This week we feature a film called “La Novia” out of Spain by way of director Paula Ortiz. It will be screening at the Gene Siskel Film Center from August 26th to September 1st. Below you will find a form to win two free tickets to this film so fill it out and get yo artsy on!

“La Novia,” a drama set in what seems to be the desert of Spain, is part of the Gene Siskel Film Center’s effort to increase its focus on Latin@ filmmakers. Off the record, do we consider Spain Latin@? Anyway, the film is an adaptation of the play “Blood Wedding” by Federico Garcia Lorca, who 80 years ago today was murdered by fascist soldiers, or homophobe dudes whatever you want to call them.

The Good

Wherever Paula Ortiz chose to shoot, it was beautiful. There is a pleasing dance between golds and shadows, visual symbolism abounds, and each shot is well-timed and thought out. Visually, the teams of artists behind the film never seem to make a mistake and the mis-en-scene has pin-point accuracy. The actual novia, played by Inma Cuesta, is treated with soft focus that accentuates her features making her a good choice as the bride (and a beautiful one).

The Bad: Michael-Bay-bad

I hate to rip on a film with a woman director and that’s based on a Lorca play, but… if you’re gonna take on Lorca you have to be ready and breathe fire, erect monuments, shit gold. The writing only fizzles; it’s a small statue, it shits rocks. Not enough time is taken out to develop the characters, leaving you with what seems like emotionally stunted and selfish people who want out of their miserable lives, same as I wanted out of the film. Instead of developing the characters, ongoing slow-motion scenes make the movie feel like a drawn-out music video.

The Ugly

Two-party system for the Ugly: writing and acting because of writing. There is some good acting in here like Inma Cuesta’s. However, the Groom, Asier Extandeia, is horrendous. I blame most of this on the writing. There is not enough room for the actors to show their range. The awesome Luisa Gavasa could only somewhat salvage the film. They got too poetic, not enough potatoes in the stew. Lorca’s original poetry is still included making it a saving grace.

“Don’t ask me any questions. I’ve seen how things

that seek their way find their void instead.

There are spaces that ache in the uninhabited air

and in my eyes, completely dressed creatures–no one naked there!”

That’s an excerpt from “1910,” a poem by Lorca from his years in New York. “La Novia,” unfortunately, found its void.