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SAN SEBASTIAN 2022 Competition

Review: Wild Flowers

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- In his new film, Jaime Rosales portrays the sentimental evolution of a young mother, played by Anna Castillo, in a film that is at times light-hearted and at others intense

Review: Wild Flowers
Anna Castillo and Lluís Marqués in Wild Flowers

Four years following the classic tragedy Petra [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Jaime Rosales
film profile
]
(which made it to the Directors’ Fortnight at Cannes), Jaime Rosales presents his seventh feature film Wild Flowers [+see also:
trailer
interview: Jaime Rosales
film profile
]
in the official section of the 70th San Sebastian Film Festival, which moves away from that soap opera thread to embrace society and the reflection of everyday life, telling, in three parts, the story of the relationship between a woman (played by Anna Castillo) and three men (played by Oriol Pla, Quim Ávila and Lluís Marqués).

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Castillo –the actress of the moment: as well as here, she also appears in Cesc Gay’s latest, Stories Not to Be Told [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Cesc Gay
film profile
]
, and in the series Fácil, by Anna R. Costa, which are also present at this Basque festival– portrays Julia in this film, a mother of two children who, although she is warned, falls in love with a man who oozes both charm and toxicity. When this relationship falls apart, she seeks to recover the one she had with the father of her children, only to end her love affair in the arms of a man "more intelligent than handsome".

These three episodes are used by Rosales to sketch the sentimental evolution of his protagonist, from letting herself get carried away by youthful fun and sexual outbursts, to trying to rebuild something broken and to take control of her life when it gives her serious setbacks. The brave Julia that Castillo depicts from the script written by the filmmaker and Bárbara Díez (producer of previous works by Rosales such as Petra and Beautiful Youth [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Jaime Rosales
film profile
]
) is not satisfied with what comes her way, but pushes forward, learns to distinguish what she does not want and continues to search for happiness and balance.

But this film, which opens and closes with songs by the flamenco rock group Triana and is filled with a pleasant light that camouflages its dark and murky areas, does not quite manage to take the narrative flight of Rosales' previous works. Its detailed reflection of the everyday, of routines, ends up hindering with its reiteration the rhythm of a story that, so calculated and discreet, demands energy and emotion.

To his credit, the director's elegance in not explicitly showing domestic violence, recalling the protocols designed for abuse cases and leaving it up to the viewer's intelligence to complete his ellipses. It also shows different masculinities, from the most Cro-Magnon to the modern one, passing through the immature and indecisive, and returns to recurring themes for its author: loneliness (or the pressing need to avoid it), personal relationships and the abrupt turns of life, shaken by events.

Wild Flowers is a co-production between the Spanish companies Fresdeval Films, A Contracorriente Films and Oberón with the French company Luxbox. Sales are managed by Film Factory Entertainment.

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(Translated from Spanish)

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