David Marqués knows men very wellto a certain type of men, to those whom he has made protagonists of his films, and he knows what he is talking about, as he demonstrates in his new film, ‘In low season‘.
Most men are neither dangerous predators nor potential rapists. The reality is much sadder and gives much more laughter, but also more sorrow. Men are, we are, with noble exceptions, or perhaps cynics with sufficiently convincing masks, ridiculous, laughable, pathetic, endearing, stubborn, vain, bombastic, insecure, cowardly, clumsy, libelous, treacherous, liars, rancid, comfortable beings , simpletons, arrogant and wild. The same could be said of many women, but this is not what the film at hand is about.
Between Fellini and Pantomime Full
It is not surprising, therefore, that here women are idealization, refuge, irony, serenity and good sense. Because one thing goes with the other, first, and because there is no good comedy of the sexes without an adequate and ingenious use of the game of opposites. Let no one understand, in any case, that ‘In low season’ is a revengeful comedy or full of opportunism ally: the result, perfectly consistent with the career of its director, comes close to the spirit of ‘Los inútiles’ (1953) by Federico Felini passed through the sieve of humor Full Pantomime.
Let’s say it already. ‘In low season’ is a excellent comedy with a bitter smile. As ‘Debris’ (2010) and ‘The unemployment club’ (2021) were already, her cousins, and before them, ‘Isolated’ (2005) and ‘Anyone’ (2003). Also the main character and the soccer plot would place us in a field very close to that of the Wilderian, and quite undervalued, ‘En offside’ (2011). David Marqués also plays, he seems to have fun doing it.
And it is used thoroughly with the tropes of the most tragicomic North American independent cinema and the heritage of Italian popular comedy (you know: Risi, Scola, Germi, Comencini, Monicelli, but also Pasquale Festa Campanile and Steno), adding to the set, played of a delicious and elegant lightness, an unmistakable castizo component.
Watching the film now, it’s hard not to think of the notable and recent series ‘Machos Alfa’ by Laura and Alberto Caballero, as if ‘En temporada baja’ were a more or less opportunistic derivative, but the truth is that Marqués has been cooking and perfecting his recipe since the beginning of his career, more than twenty years ago.
‘In low season’: Antonio Resines in the limbo of the hyenas
The movie it makes you laugh and it hurts, it squeezes but doesn’t drown… because laughter is always liberating even when it’s dark and laconic. It hurts because it places a mirror in front of our faces and forces us to face an image that may not be so distorted or grotesque.
It hurts because it talks to us about an empty Spain (of soul) with some characters who have lost theirs by dint of pretending, to pretend to be who they are not, perhaps to survive in a world of imposing disguises. And it hurts, mainly, because the miseries that he portrays are recognizable and close, and are treated with a closeness that is sometimes disconcerting and purely cruel.
Marqués does not empathize with his characters, he shows them as they are, but humor and pathos inevitably lead to a tenderness of grimace. The comedy combines brilliant gags (the one about the soccer player in the restaurant) with more conventional ones, such as some wisps of self-control (self-defense?) that slightly sully the whole.
It has a final sequence to remember which is already among the most notable in the filmography of the screenwriter of ‘Champions’ (2018), the box office phenomenon that has led to a sequel and an American remake.
If the essence of cinema howard hawks was the complicity of the group, both in their westerns, as well as in their crazy comedies and adventure films, here we have its eschatological and mundane equivalent. So attached to the Cainite spirit of Spain today and always, a clear and surly reflection of the shame of the masculine gender and the false compadreo between anti-heroes doomed to lose, and to settle, without abandoning the smile or wrinkling the suit, clinging to an imposture of Cheap, with the smell of a tavern and out-of-date tapas.
All this located in a campsite that is at the same time a limbo, a prison and a refuge from circumstances. presides over the cast colossal Antonio Resines, in the role of Alberto “El Crack”, one of the best works of his long filmography. Next to him it is a pleasure to meet again with some colleagues in top form: fele martinez, also great in the aforementioned ‘Machos Alfa’, carries the most blurred character; a surprising Coke Mesh boards an honest journalist who, like everyone, turns out to be not so much, and edu soto He masterfully plays the role of a cañí Jack Lemmon (the Lemmon of ‘The Apartment’ and ‘On a Silver Platter’, like the most pissed off of ‘The Prisoner of Second Avenue’), lost in the hyena cage.
Not even a small piece of paper is missing Eric French, usual suspect. And, of course, they: Ana Milán, Rosana Pastor, Marta Belenguer, Lorena López, all splendid. They sign the steely script, together with the Marqués himself, Asier Guerricaechebarría, Jon Iriarte and Javier Echániz, with skill and wit. What a pleasure that the good vibes of recent Spanish cinema are also spreading to some comedies like this, but what a shame, on the other hand, that the proposal can go unnoticed before releases with more pomp and marketing.
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