Episodic look at the life of Cuban poet and novelist, Reinaldo Arenas (1943-1990), from his childhood in Oriente province to his death in New York City. He joins Castro's rebels. By 1964, ... See full summary »
Olatz López Garmendia
Life story of Spaniard Ramón Sampedro, who fought a 30-year campaign to win the right to end his life with dignity. Film explores Ramón's relationships with two women: Julia, a lawyer who supports his cause, and Rosa, a local woman who wants to convince him that life is worth living. Through the gift of his love, these two women are inspired to accomplish things they never previously thought possible. Despite his wish to die, Ramón taught everyone he encountered the meaning, value and preciousness of life. Though he could not move himself, he had an uncanny ability to move others. Written by
Sujit R. Varma
Three months before Spanish premiere, Alejandro Amenábar gave a photo to the media to be shown all over the nation to make people get used to Bardem's make-up and forget about it while watching the film to pay attention to his performance. See more »
Relax. You're feeling calmer and calmer. Now imagine a movie screen, opening before you. On it, imagine your favorite place. Concentrate on your breathing, allowing your whole body to relax, to feel at peace. Keep it going. Just let it come and go... come and go... Now you are there. Notice the details: the colors, the textures, the light, the temperature. Feel the temperature. Let this tranquil scene unfold before you. The sensation of peace is infinite.
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Many more eloquent reviews than this have described the quite spectacular acting, casting and styling of this film. It appears that the only negative reviews focus on a perceived imbalance in the film's handling of the core moral question (euthanasia).
This film is, bar the final scenes, meticulous in stressing Ramon's belief that he's not making some grand point but merely that, for him, a life devoid of dignity is a life not worth living. We, as viewers, see an enormous amount of dignity in his life - we see family and friends and culture and, but for its physical limitations, a life fully lived. Central to the tragedy of this film is that there is really only one person who thinks that Ramon's life is not worth living - and that is him.
To watch this film and say that the only counter argument comes from the visit of a bumbling priest is a nonsense. The priest's visit is pure farce, a direct assault on the simplicity of the Spanish Catholic Church's response to the issue of euthanasia. However, the sister's parting words to the priest momentarily expose the powerful 'pro-life' sentiments quietly underpinning the entire film. We are constantly encouraged to see the hope and the beauty of a life lived with love. As the film progresses, we may gradually be encouraged to understand Ramon's reasoning but we are never reconciled to his decision.
I do not remember a film which moved me and provoked me as much as this.
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