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Review: I am the Juani (2006)

Director: | 100 minutes | , | Actors: , , Laya Martí, , , , , , , Benito Sagredo, , , , ,

The work of the Catalan director Bigas Luna often mentions the so-called lower needs of man, such as sex, money and… well, here the inspiration ends; Luna is both admirer and executioner of his characters. The temptation is therefore great to expect a parody based on the above summary. However, nothing could be further from the truth: “Yo soy la Juani” (“I am Juani”) is an almost childlike hymn to self-affirmation, from the perspective of a folk girl who uses her to rise higher. No black humor, no personal growth, but a clichéd script from which every subsequent can be predicted. Juani meets boyfriend in car garage with another; Juani goes to the big city; Juani wants to be an actress, but is only asked as a calendar and escort girl by old or slimy guys; Juani misses home and regrets.

Then rather “Little Red Riding Hood”. It is hard to imagine that Luna, who can do much better – as he proved with “Jamón, jamón” (1992), has this “youth film” full of obligatory bare breasts to his name. Apart from a little zest for life and the somewhat sympathetic main character, “Yo soy la Juani” has little to offer. Luna forgets all irony and seems to want us to believe that the girls of Spain think they will find happiness with their frontage; he also pretends to tell us that in the end that is not the way, and you better keep believing in yourself – thank you for this wisdom, señor Luna. Verónica Echegui makes quite a bit of it, even when she has to fall back into the arms of muscle bundle Jonah at the end to be caught by the same woman she found him with earlier. Fill in how “Yo soy la Juani” ends next, but don’t expect miracles.

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