Tag Archives: Daniel Sánchez Arévalo

Los Backstreet Primos

It’s time for this year’s ¡Viva! at Cornerhouse, and what an excellent start I had last night, seeing Primos by Daniel Sánchez Arévalo. It is easily the best film I have seen in Cornerhouse’s Spanish language film festival over the last few years, and as I came out of the cinema I was busy planning how to get hold of a copy for friends and family to enjoy too.

Primos

Having seen Daniel’s Gordos last year, I thought I knew what to expect; a fun film. But this was so much more, funny, romantic, and with that little bit extra that made it more memorable than other funny and romantic films.

The plot is simple enough, with Diego having been left in the lurch by Yolanda, and his two cousins (primos) Julián and José Miguel stepping in to prevent him from going crazy. Except they are possibly crazier than Diego ever will be, so their impromptu trip ‘home’ doesn’t turn out as they think.

Primos

Although, perhaps they aren’t crazy either. They have been formed by the people around them, and coming back home they meet up with their pasts. There is the drunk, former owner of the video rental shop and his beautiful daughter. There is Diego’s first love Martina, and her young son, who proves wiser in many ways than the three primos. And it’s hardly surprising that Spanish men are so very preoccupied with cojones and the size of them, if they are introduced to this ‘important’ subject so early on.

New and old romances flourish in beautiful settings, and the primos revisit their youthful impersonation of the Backstreet Boys, as well as the local seaside theme park. As I’ve noticed with other non-English language films, there is none of the prudish hang-ups about going topless on the beach, or of being seen perching on the toilet.

Primos

And breakfasting isn’t always easy, or ‘desayunar no siempre es fácil,’ as Diego finds.

It’s fluffy and silly, but so very wonderful.

Gordos

Somehow Fat People sounds less attractive. I know Gordos means the same thing, but still. The ¡Viva! festival of Spanish language films at Cornerhouse showed Gordos yesterday, to yet another full house. They could barely squeeze people in at the end, and it wasn’t all to do with our gordo-ness, so to speak.

Gordos

Five fat people in therapy, talking about their fat lives. Through the film they lose weight or put it back on or stay the same or get a little fatter. They talk about why. We see their lives away from the therapy sessions.

It’s described as a comedy, and it is a comedy. Sort of. Plenty of laughs, but possibly mostly from the non-gordos of the audience? Eating more pizza or having sex is more amusing for being done by fat people. Yes, it was funny. But it was also sad to see the lives people lead.

At least it didn’t follow the routes of either proving you become happier when you’ve slimmed down, or that you can love yourself despite of or because of being fat. You just are.

Antonio de la Torre

What did surprise me was to find that it had been filmed in real time with the actors eating themselves fat or starving themselves thin and again and again. I hope none of them suffered lasting problems from this. One apparently couldn’t make himself fat (I disliked him from the start!) so was killed off in the end, as an alternative to ending up fat. Which is one way of looking at this sad state of affairs.

And not once was I tempted to eat the spare sandwich in my bag…

(Antonio de la Torre, left, who reputedly put on 33 kg.)

Kilo away!