Berlin Diary 5: The end of a romance. The beginnings of a transformation.

Posted on February 20, 2018


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The most remarkable aspect of Avel Petersén and Måns Månsson’s  The Real Estate (discussed in yesterday’s diary) is the heroine. Léonore Ekstrand plays a 68-year-old, which is the actress’s age in real life. It isn’t just that she is unafraid to play her age. She’s unafraid to look her age. In a scene in a cab, she’s lit from below. You see every fold on her face, every wrinkle. In a scene at the gym, her body stands in glorious defiance of the younger bodies around her, and in a sex scene, she straddles the man, fully, frontally nude. An exchange from the first Bridget Jones movie came to mind, when the heroine gets out of bed with a sheet around her because she doesn’t want her boyfriend to see her “wobbly bits.” He replies, “I happen to have a very high regard for your wobbly bits.” European actresses are brave that way. They accept their bodies, wobbly bits and all.

The nudity in Mónica Lairana’s La cama (The Bed) is equally unapologetic, equally unconcerned about camouflaging very normal-looking bodies with careful lighting or carefully arranged bedsheets. The story chronicles the last day of togetherness of a fifty- or sixty-something couple about to be separated, Mabel (Sandra Sandrini) and Jorge (Alejo Mango). The opening scene has them trying to have sex, and Jorge cannot perform. The camera stays still throughout the film, like an invisible observer (as opposed to a participant in the goings-on, tracking or zooming in), and what we see is what two naked people (who are used to being naked around one another, having been married for decades) would be like if they did not know they were being watched/recorded by a camera. At least, that’s the impression we’re left with, thanks to two of the most un-self-conscious actors I have seen.

Continued at the link above.

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Posted in: Cinema: Foreign