CalWilliam wrote:ITALIANO wrote:Reza wrote:Volver a empezar / Begin the Beguine / To Begin Again (José Luis Garci, 1982) 5/10
Warm bittersweet memory piece is a bore and still managed to win the Oscar for best foreign film (Spain's first). An old man (Antonio Ferrandis) returns to his old hometown Gijon after going into exile during the Spanish Civil War in the 1930s. He has lived all these years in the United States and has recently won the Nobel prize in Literature. The film is a series (of very slow) vignettes as he connects with an old flame and an old buddy. He is harboring a secret which he tells his friend but does not mention to the lady. Unfortunately the film's poignant scenes are intercut with silly comic scenes involving the hotel manager who is over excited once he realises the old man is a celebrity. The film is bathed in a romantic aura due to the soundtrack - both Johann Pachelbel's "Canon in D Major" and Cole Porter's "Begin the Beguine" are played ad nauseam throughout. Sentimental fluff.
Yes, this was one of the most embarassing Foreign Film wins ever (and, I mean, God knows there have been several especially in that category). Such a non-entity of a movie - delicate to the point of being unsubstantial. And it's not like that year there weren't far more deserving, if probably edgier, candidates, both nominated (France) and just submitted (Italy, Germany).
I agree, it was a weird, mediocre choice, especially considering other good Spanish films that didn’t manage to win before Volver a empezar did. There’s a particularly embarrassing scene involving a telephone call with the King. I cringe every time I see that. Nevertheless I am somewhat fond of the movie, because it was shot 20 minutes away from my hometown, in this beautiful Cantabric coast in the North of Spain, and I think the movie captures really well the sense of Gijón and Asturias in the early 80s, its people and environment.
Yes, the location is very nice.