Review: The Enchanted
- In Elena Trapé’s third fiction feature, the protagonist (played by Laia Costa) loses touch with herself after going through a major life change… And she can’t be found anywhere
A woman under an overwhelming array of influences, facing various ongoing conflicts, and with a gaping chasm starting to yawn beneath her feet. This is how the character played by Laia Costa feels in The Enchanted, the third feature directed by Elena Trapé, which is competing in the official section of the Málaga Film Festival, where, five years ago, this filmmaker picked up the Golden Biznaga for Best Film, plus the gongs for Best Director and Best Actress (for Alexandra Jiménez) for Distances [+see also:
interview: Elena Trapé
film profile]. At this edition, it might be harder for her to make off with the top prize, although maybe Costa will be able to take home an award, unless the curse of the Goya she recently received for Lullaby [+see also:
interview: Alauda Ruiz de Azúa
film profile] is fulfilled and the jury thinks that one statuette is enough for her for this awards season.
It’s on the Catalonian actress’s furrowed brow that the conflict of this intimate film bristling with repressed emotions lies. Its main character, Irene, is a woman who is confronting a different life, and contrary to what many people think, opening up before her is not a future replete with opportunities and hope, but rather an abyss of insecurity, fear, solitude and feelings of guilt.
Trapé places her full trust in the lead actress and follows her on her impossible escape to nowhere, on a quest to salvage – perhaps – her youthful past and on the lookout for any sign of affection that would ward off the burdensome toxicity in which she has been wallowing ever since her recent separation. Trapé accompanies this woman who is “like a cow without a cowbell” (as Chus Lampreave wisely described her daughter Marisa Paredes in Pedro Almodóvar’s The Flower of My Secret), offering her her full support and understanding; she’s a disorientated person, for whom the ground has opened up and who is plummeting downwards without a chance to cling onto any branches that might soften the blow.
Because protagonist Irene’s life has taken a dramatic and unexpected turn, a change of direction that she was, in theory, prepared for, but which nobody or nothing taught her how to confront. And not even an escape into the countryside or towards the happy memories of a distant yesterday can relieve her of having to lug around her baggage of resentment and the sadness of the void she feels as she separates from her daughter for the first time. For that reason, to continue with the bovine-based similes, in the end, she will have to “take the bull by the horns”.
Thus, this is a film centring on the personal inner conflict of a single character, whom the camera tirelessly follows around at all times, enabling us to get a sense of what is happening inside her without overemphasising anything, but rather focusing on describing her everyday movements. While on occasions it can get bogged down by its unhurried, sluggish or even boring pace, it does manage to convey to the viewer the feeling that something inside Irene/Laia is about to explode.
The Enchanted, which features a screenplay penned by the director and Miguel Ibáñez Monroy (Distances), is a production by Coming Soon Films, A Contracorriente Films and Encantats Films AIE, and it boasts the involvement of RTVE and TVC. It will be distributed in Spanish cinemas by A Contracorriente Films, which will release it on 2 June, while its international sales have been entrusted to Latido Films.
(Translated from Spanish)
Did you enjoy reading this article? Please subscribe to our newsletter to receive more stories like this directly in your inbox.