Spanish Film Festival: Un Amor

Spanish Film Festival: Un Amor Rating

Click if you liked this article

Un Amor is a delirious dive into the torment experienced by a young woman who walked away from the stress of her work interpreting the tragic stories of refugees and moved to La Escapa, a small village deep in the Spanish countryside, only to be thrust into a story almost as horrible as the ones she was running away from.

Multi-award-winning and multi-lingual Spanish director Isabel Coixet co-wrote and directed this searing drama, told with interspersed flashbacks to the horrors of her previous work, paralleling her descent into indecency.

The cinematography is often breathtaking, showing the scope and beauty of the region and vividly bringing life to Nat’s mixed emotions. The villagers’ characterisations, foibles, intrigues, and veiled love triangles are all treated with gusto. There’s a delightful smorgasbord of humanity on display.

In a dilapidated house with an abused dog thrust into her care, thirty-year-old Natalia, or Nat (Laia Costa), faces overt hostility and sexist micro-aggressions from her landlord and covert hostility from nearly all her neighbours. Initially wooed by a slightly older man who demonstrates an artistic sensitivity with stained glass, she demurely dismisses his overtures.

Spanish Film Festival: Un Amor

Then after an extraordinary encounter, Natalia reluctantly gives in to an awkward illicit proposal from her brutish neighbour Andreas (Hovik Keuchkerian) so as to have her dwelling refurbished somewhat and made into a more liveable space. In so doing, she succumbs to a passion that punishes her and causes her to see who she really is.

The film is based on Sara Mesa’s bestselling novel of the same name. The Spanish newspaper El País named it Spain’s 2020 book of the year. Un Amor has been described as a bittersweet and striking exploration of gender roles, love, obsession, and desire.

It deftly deals with some eternally fundamental and gripping questions that have plagued humanity. What is love? Are we sexual in nature? It’s a disturbingly frank look at the dynamics of gender politics and sex as a commodity.

John Holland of Screen Daily, a website providing a real-time view of the film industry, said the film was sometimes “redolent of Coixet’s very best work.” Guy Lodge of Variety, a website featuring entertainment news and reviews, considered the film to be a return to form for Coixet.

In two top ten lists of Spanish films, it ranked 2nd (El Español) and 10th (Mondosonoro).

This review also appears on It’s On The House. Check out more reviews at Whats The Show to see what else is on in your town.

Spread the word on your favourite platform!