FSLC's sorely missed annual series, Spanish Cinema Now, a wonderful film from writers/directors Jon Garaño and José Mari Goenaga titled 80 Days (80 egunean). That film unfortunately never saw theatrical release here in the USA, so it pleases me no end to be able to cover the theatrical debut of the pair's latest work, FLOWERS (Loreak). This marks the first time a Basque-language film has been submitted by Spain as the country's nominee for Best Foreign Language Film at the upcoming Oscars. (Language enthusiasts and foreign film buffs alike will discover that the Basque language, Euskara, sounds little like Spanish.)
Aitor Arregi, have created a quietly complicated tale of lives entwining in a most unusual way. Oddly entwined lives are nothing new to cinema (consider Paul Haggis' Oscar winner Crash and his much-better, though less seen, Third Person), but what distinguishes the world of these filmmakers is how beautifully they avoid melodrama, despite their film being about some of the very things -- love, possible adultery, death and family squabbles -- most prone to bring this out in a movie.
Javier Agirre) and a tale that holds our attention by virtue of its complicated and beautifully wrought characters -- draw us in and manage to keep us focused on the bigger picture, even if we don't know for some time what that picture will include.
Nagore Aranburu, above) who gets some surprising news from her physician, after which she begins receiving weekly delivery of flowers -- with no note or name-of-sender attached.
Itziar Ituño, above) is in an unhappy relationship with her mother-in-law, Tere (Itziar Aizpuru, below, who was so fine in the filmmakers' earlier 80 Days).
Josean Bengoetxea, below), who proves the filmmakers' ace-in-the-hole: a character who bonds the others -- and the movie itself -- even though we never really know him nearly as well as we come to know these women. In the film's finest scenes, we follow along with what happens to one of these characters -- as a corpse! -- and the movie touches profundity without ever seeming pretentious.
Music Box Films and running 99 minutes, it opens this Friday, October 30, in New York City at the Paris Theatre, then goes to Washington DC on November 6, to Philadelphia on November 20, and to Los Angeles at Laemmle's Royal on November 27. Click here, then scroll down and click on THEATERS to see all currently scheduled playdates.