Dark Blue Almost Black (2006) Poster

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7/10
Channels tranquility – very patient, sweet film
Flagrant-Baronessa19 November 2006
Jorge (Quim Gutiérrez) is stuck in a dead-end job and with an unrequited long-term love for the girl next door. His father has suffered a stroke and needs constant supervision, which Jorge alone manages. His brother is in prison. His best friend is contemplating his sexuality. In short, he is the epitome of a "nice guy" – the kind who is too nice to lie, cheat or think in even remotely self-serving paths. In Arévalo's directorial debut, we are offered a slice of his protagonist's life – to no discernible end, but still a worthwhile watch.

The latter can best be attributed to the film's preference of continuity to climaxes. It offers next to no culminations, 'key' scenes or satisfying plot development and instead presents a highly low-key story that takes a gentle yet unflinching look at a young man's life. Quim Gutiérrez is handsome, affable and intrinsically good as Jorge, giving a sweet little performance that is just a smidge to humourless to wow the audience or even go the extra mile. None of the other actors are particularly noteworthy, although Raúl Arévalo caters to the comedy part which undoubtedly elevates the whole film above generic drama formula. Make no mistake however – it is no comedy.

Azuloscurocasinegro is also one of the calmest films I have ever seen. seen. It is neither boring nor slow, but the pacing is peaceful and there is an underlying tranquility in the seamless intercutting of scenes, without resorting to dreamy cinematography or soothing nature shots. I suppose that is another way of saying not much happens in it, which is certainly quite true, but there is some emotional poignancy to be found, some sex scenes to be 'enjoyed' and above all remarkably insightful dialogue to be shared. It delivers little gems by the bucketload, puffed full of actual wisdom – best of all, it never feels forced. In the end, Azuloscurocasinegro is quite forgettable, but a sweet viewing nonetheless.

7 out of 10
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7/10
Delicate story with a smile and a tear
bertom722 May 2007
The blues, dark, almost black... That's Daniel Sánchez Arévalo's message in his new highly rewarded azuloscurocasinegro. It happens to be the same color as the suit Jorge (Quim Gutiérrez) is dreaming of. This suit represents his freedom. Jorge's father has suffered a stroke and Jorge himself has to take care of him and the janitor duties he is now unable to do. In the meantime Jorge's brother (Antonio De la Torre) - who is in jail, falls in love with a girl called Paula (Marta Etura) he meets in prison. Jorge's friend Israel (Raúl Arévalo) is discovering secrets about his father and himself.

The life Jorge lives withholds his self-development, and retains his freedom. He obtained his management degree with self-study, but it's impossible for him to get the job he wants, because of his duties: his father and the janitor-job. He's in love with his neighbor girl (Eva Pallarés), but thinks a true relationship is impossible, because she is free an he is stuck in there. The movie itself is set in the same dark blue color setting, but it never gets too moody. there is a nice balance between the emotions (there are some really funny parts with Israel and with Jorge's brother Antonio), joined by a very decent score. The story never gets into extremes: the emotions are subtle but real. The characters are well developed (especially Jorge's and Paula's), and deep enough to be able to feel with them. Newcomer Daniel Sánchez Arévalo brings us a delicate story with a smile and a tear.
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7/10
Witty and thought-provoking drama with attractive roles perfectly played by sensational actors
ma-cortes9 June 2015
Entertaining and uplifting Spanish drama with emotion , family life and twisted situations . It's an agreeable , moving film , compellingly acted and concerning the narration about the relationship among siblings and their mentally-handicapped dad . Nice and enticing Dramedy -charming drama along with a little comedy- about the close relationships among the members of a particular family . It deals with Jorge (Quim Gutiérrez) a good guy who cares his father and attempts to find a nice job . This undertaking is complicated by the fact he takes care of his wheelchair-bounded daddy (Héctor Colome who recently passed away , being in real life stepfather to director) who suffered a stroke seven years before . His soon-to-be-released sibling named Antonio (Antonio De La Torre) who in a stage rehearsal meets a beautiful girl named Paula (Marta Etura) ; the latter wants to get pregnant to free herself the hard conditions and mistreating in the dangerous prison . When Antonio finds out he's infertile, Jorge is asked to make Paula pregnant . To make the dilemma even heavier , Jorge's childhood girlfriend Natalia (Eva Pallares) goes back after many years ago and events go wrong . Meanwhile, Jorge's best friend Israel (Raul Arévalo) secretly from a penthouse photographs people visiting an erotic masseur named Roberto (Roberto Enriquez) , discovering an unexpected surprise .

This is an enjoyable film with entertaining events , emotion , plot twists and triangular love stories . Slightly fun drama with some touches of humor and several surprises . The flick gives a deep description about lives of people of the lower classes , dealing with a peculiar and dysfunctional family under the focus of a young janitor , his brother , their handicapped father and their girlfriends . The movie tries to expand some fine sense about this particular family such as brotherhood , help and love , including its funny aspects as well as thought-provoking or brooding sides . The roles in this film are all lovable despite being rather unlucky and unfortunate characters . The cast is frankly fabulous such as Quim Gutiérrez as Jorge who is a 25-year old janitor who desperately attempts to find himself a new , and particularly better , job , Antonio De La Torre as his brother who met a girlfriend , Paula , well played by Marta Etura , in jail , Héctor Colomé as their handicapped daddy who had a hart infarct several years earlier and Raul Arévalo as his best friend who from attic photographs neighbours to find out something he didn't bargain for . The tale narrated in sensitivity and intelligence and are treated some ethic and moral issues developed in a nice sense and great ductility . The film attempts to spread optimism about the events of life , in spite of distresses , with its amusing sides and dark areas . Support cast is pretty well such as Eva Pallarés as Natalia , Ana Wagener as Ana , Manuel Morón as Fernando , Alex O'Dogherty , Roberto Enríquez and Julián Villagrán . Lively and sensitive Original Music by by Pascal Gaigne . Colorful and evocative Cinematography by Juan Carlos Gómez . The film achieved many prizes such as Goya Awards 2007 : Best New Director Daniel Sánchez Arévalo , Best Supporting Actor , Antonio de la Torre , Best New Actor , Quim Gutiérrez ; Málaga Spanish Film Festival 2006 in which won Silver Biznaga : Best Screenplay Daniel Sánchez Arévalo and Special Jury Award Daniel Sánchez Arévalo . Furthermore , it had a lot of awards and nominations in several Festivals as Santa Barbara International Film Festival 2007 , Premios ACE , Sant Jordi Awards , Stockholm Film Festival ,Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival 2006 , Spanish Unión Actors , among others .

The motion picture was very well directed by Daniel Sánchez Arévalo . Daniel was born on 1970 in Madrid , location in which he often shoots his films . Daniel Sánchez Arevalo usually tries to mix genres ranging from comedy to melodrama in its ending segment with some offbeat touches . He is a phenomenal writer, and filmmaker ,known for ¨Primos¨ , ¨Azuloscurocasinegro¨ (2006), ¨Gordos¨ (2009) and ¨La Gran Familia Española¨ or "Family United" (2013) . In his films he takes parts from American films of the fifties , particularly those of Frank Capra plenty of emotional and family feeling in which solidarity triumphs and humor despite the blackness .
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8/10
A Breath of Fresh Air
nturner7 November 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Seven years ago, Jorge, a young man frustrated with the fact that his father wanted him to follow in his footsteps and become janitor of a large apartment building, sets fire to one of the trash bins. Jorge's father sees him and runs after him whereupon the father suffers a stroke.

In those seven years' time, Jorge has assumed care of his invalid father and become what he hates - the janitor for the building. However, Jorge has continued his dream and has recently earned a degree from business school. He interviews for one position after another but cannot find a job.

Natalia - a girl Jorge has known all of his life and with whom he is infatuated - returns from abroad to live in her parents' vacant apartment. The two instantly renew their friendship, and shy, insecure Jorge is able to move the relationship to more than just friendship - much to the delight of them both.

The scene shifts to a women's prison where Paula is severely abused by her fellow prisoners. Paula joins a prison play group were she meets Antonio who is there solely with the hope of getting some sex with the women in the group. Paula is eager to comply as pregnant prisoners lead a much better life. Try as they will, Paula isn't impregnated. They finally discover that Antonio is sterile.

It just so happens that Antonio is Jorge's older brother and is due shortly to be released. Once released Antonio convinces Jorge to pay conjugal visits to Paula in order that she become pregnant.

I know that much of what has been described appears to be a farce, but this engrossing and entertaining film definitely is not. Spanish cinema seems to have a way of viewing the dramatic - sometimes tragic - elements of life and still not ignore the little comic ironies that are always present. Azuloscurocasinegro does just that giving the viewer insight into the lives of these extremely interesting characters.

All of the acting is of ultimate quality and Quim Gutiérrez as Jorge certainly leads the pack. He offers the viewer a look at a genuine young man desperately trying to find his own way. His performance is truly heartwarming.

With all of the sub-par trash that comes out about young men trying to find themselves, this film is surely a breath of fresh air.
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5/10
colors saying it all
VoiceOfEurope5 September 2007
I tend to go and see quite many Spanish movies these days. There are more and more reaching the theaters of Budapest, which means the demand for them must have risen. No wonder, since they are very special in the aspect that they can deal with dramatic, sexual and tense situations with ease by always splicing a good deal of black humour, some playful and lovable credulity even into the darkest of plots. However, Darkbluealmostblack stays very stark and grave even with the efforts of trying to tune it down a little bit with a few honest laughters and gigs. A young, shy but capable adult having to take care of his crippled father from virtually no money while his brother is in prison trying to strike up a relationship with a female inmate who only needs somebody to have a baby with is just a little too much misery crowded in one tiny spot of the world. And this is just to start off with. Daniel Sanchez Arevalo took it way too seriously this time making the movie really turn from dark blue to black. It is definitely not going to light your day up. So, be careful with choosing your company for this one.
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8/10
Very Sweet and Pleasant Movie
claudio_carvalho9 March 2009
After a prank followed by an argument with his father, who is the janitor of the building where they live and wants his son to follow his profession, the teenager Jorge (Quim Gutiérrez) witnesses his father having a stroke. Seven years later, Jorge is graduated in management with self-study, but he is stuck in life, working as janitor and taking care of his handicapped father. Jorge seeks a better job in the area he graduated, but he never lies about his duties as a janitor and the health of his father in the interviews; consequently he does not succeed in getting a new job. When his childhood girlfriend Natalia (Eva Pallarés) returns to her apartment after finishing college, Jorge has an inferiority complex but they stay together. Meanwhile his older brother Antonio (Antonio De la Torre) is in jail and falls in love for the inmate Paula (Marta Etura), who wants to get pregnant to be entitled to move to the nursery and escape from the violent mates. When Antonio finds that he is infertile, he asks Jorge to help Paula to get pregnant. Meanwhile his best friend Israel (Raúl Arévalo) discloses a secret about his father while snooping the building on the other side of the street.

'Azuloscurocasinegro" is a sweet and very pleasant movie with a good and original story, but the conclusion is weak. Most of the characters are somehow prisoners: Jorge in his mediocre life; his father on the wheelchair; Antonio and Paula in jail; Israel with his dysfunctional family in his father's house. Natalia is her past relationship with Jorge. The lead character Jorge actually lives in a limbo, stuck in his guilty and inferiority complex with his father. This is the second great work that I see of the gorgeous actress Marta Etura, unfortunately unknown in Brazil. She is an excellent actress and I love to see her beauty and charm while acting. My vote is eight.

Title (Brazil): "Azul Escuro Quase Preto" ("Dark Blue Almost Black")
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9/10
Channeling The Kindred Spirit Of Almodovar
Seamus282912 August 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Make no mistake about it, this first feature by Daniel Sanchez Arevalo is one to seek out, if you've long admired the films of Pedro Almodovar. It mostly deals with a group of Spanish twenty-somethings, who are hemmed in by life in one way or another. The characters seem to move through life, getting by not always with the best methods, but surely the best intentions. Without revealing much, there is one character that plays wet nurse to his invalid Father (victim of a stroke years earlier,after a Father/Son argument), a ner-do well Brother in jail for a crime that is never made known,his girlfriend he meets in theater studies,who he wants to get pregnant so he can get out of prison earlier,and a host of other oddball characters. The film gets good use of indoor photography,with certain colour schemes being used as a visual metaphor. There are other things I could reveal, but won't spoil the fun. Although the film has been picked up for American distribution, you'll probably have to do a bit of searching out for it.
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