Lena (2001) Poster

(2001)

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7/10
Charismatic young actress offers a glimpse of her potential
guiricinefilo10 March 2002
Lena is an at times interesting, at times pedestrian coming of age story set in the bajos fondos of Vigo. Stories of criminals double-crossing each other have been done before, and better, but Marta Larralde, as Lena, makes much of a schematic role, showing her capacity for emotional variation and betraying a sharp intelligence behind her radiant eyes. Her conflicted love for her undeserving father is believable, much more so than her transferrance of sexual longing from yet another Al salir de clase veteran (Ivan Hermes--are there any fims in Spain this year without these people?) to the sociopathic Milio. I won't get into the Elektra complex implications as the movie doesn't merit it. Yet on the whole a decent hour and a half in the cinema.
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5/10
Entertaining
khatcher-210 May 2003
A rather worrying situation, precisely because such is more than likely in innumerable large cities all over the place. In this case in Vigo, a city of about half a million inhabitants in Galicia, in the extreme north west of Spain. The city has had – with other nearby places – a long history associated with smuggling. In recent times cigarettes and alcohol, and, far more menacing, drugs. It is just a hop across the Atlantic from Colombia, and Vigo is the perfect gateway to Europe. Thus, in recent times, anti-drug police catch hauls in tons at one go, aboard ancient merchant vessels which have changed hands, flag of convenience and name about as frequently as you and I change our socks.

Lena's father, known as `Gorrión' (`Sparrow'), a waster if ever there was one, has got entangled in smuggling circles and is in a rather negative position; Lena, a teenager played by a somewhat over-age Marta Larralde, who, at twentyish just cannot go prancing about Vigo's neighbourhoods in skimpy fifteen-year-old clothing without turning a lot of eyes in her direction, has to lose out on her student grant so as to help her father out of his troubles, and she does so getting right in there with the traffickers; she ends up being a `camel' driven around in a plush Mercedes.

So a classical thriller setting, almost in the `noir' category, played out fairly well by Miss Larralde in her first ever film, and backed up by some more or less convincing thug-types of the underworld, and a stupendous casting of Lena's father – Manuel Manquiña.

An entertaining 90-odd minutes without purporting to be anything greater, so passable.

Some students of Spanish may have a little difficulty at times with understanding the dialogues and will have to fall back on the subtitles.
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