Pedro Almodóvar has this to say about the movie being covered today: "For me, the film is the great Spanish cinema revelation of the century." Now, who's gonna pass that up? Not me, baby! Having now watched MAGICAL GIRL (La niña de fuego--a literal translation of which might be "The fire girl," or maybe "The hot girl"), I can honestly say that I will probably never quite forget this film, even though there's a hole in it a mile wide -- a piece missing that is not unlike the puzzle piece needed to complete a jigsaw that one of its characters finds himself suddenly without. And yes, this is as frustrating to us viewers as it is to that very strange character named Damián, a schoolteacher whose interaction with his pretty student foreshadows much that is to come, particularly the film's finale.
Carlos Vermut (shown at right), is devoted to that schoolgirl's later story as an adult, as well as the tale of a father (also a schoolteacher who is now unemployed) and his very ill daughter, whose last days he wants to make as pleasurable as possible, and, of course, that of Damián, who proves to be the film's wild card. The interlocking stories, strange as they are, seem perfectly easy to follow, including how and why they connect. Yet certain events have been left out that would explain some rather important information about these "connections." Without this, we can still play along, as it were -- and because the film is so fascinating and creepy and unsettling, we do -- but at the end, there remains a void where more content and/or explanation ought to be.
Bárbara Lennie (above, left, and below, right), makes what has and what will happen perfectly clear.
Luis Bermejo (below, right) and Lucía Pollán (above) could hardly be better. And Ms Lennie is, as usual, something else.
José Sacristán (above, left, and below), as that wild card, who eventually steals the movie. And also, through no fault of his own, leaves it twisting in the wind. But that, I suspect, is exactly as the filmmaker wants it to be.
First Run Features (they're rare, yes, but they're almost always worth seeing). The film hits DVD today, Tuesday, April 19, for rental or purchase.