Directed by Santi Anodeo. Spain. 2005.


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This debut feature from Spaniard, Santi Anodeo is one of surprising assurance and care that is required in a slight tale of human re-discovery of the self and love.  At times the stylish vignettes between scenes that signify a new step in Danielís life plan are a bit forced and too fancy.  Daniel is an ex-junkie who after going cold turkey decides to follow a ten step plan with the help of a young girl he finds in his building looking for a brother.  Stylistically the film tries to over do it with these animations, while Danielís (Nancho Novo) life is one of stillness and isolation; the acting is very delicate and restrained.  At the beginning Daniel is a very so and so, therefore we do not have to worry about the film becoming sentimental or the ex-junkie becoming a martyr, in fact it is his past that stops him fully coming into the world because his friends judgment of him still are at the front of their minds.  With the help of Laura who herself is looking for domestic bliss and a father figure, the two characters both offer something to the other that is currently missing; she grants him support and a partner. The dialogue and interplay between the two is positive as it has to carry most of the film (my favourite scene was at Danielís friendís house for dinner which, as if the camera was left on, has the actors being real and not acting, a rare thing to see nowadays.  A down side for the film is its abrupt ending which it seems must fit the proviso of a ninety minute running time, it is too sudden and for the amount of faith we put into these characters it is surprising for Daniel to not even complete his plan, although maybe that is the point - you do not have to complete something to succeed.  Nancho Novo gives a wonderful performance as the at times brash Daniel but constantly played in a sombre, reflective mood.

Jamie Garwood
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