La vida que te espera (2003)
Directed by: Manuel Gutierrez Aragon | 100 minutes | drama, romance | Actors: Juan Diego, Luis Tosar, Marta Etura, Clara Lago, Celso Bugallo, Víctor Clavijo, Xosé M. Olveira, José Luis Bernal, Rei Chao, Alfonso Agra, Rosa Álvares, Santi Prego, Manuel Millán, Laura Silva, Laura Bueno, Tasio Fernandez
The film was shot in the breathtakingly beautiful mountain landscapes of Cantabria, where the emptiness almost takes your breath away. The story emotionally sketches a still existing, but at the same time slowly dying image of farming communities that conduct their business entirely according to their own traditions and views formed over the centuries. The film shows a beautiful picture of the irrevocability with which their lives are doomed to change drastically as time progresses. Here too, in this remote valley, the all-determining hand of “Brussels” extends and rules about milk quotas and permitted numbers of livestock determine the lives of these smallholders. The primitive conditions under which they live and the way in which this affects their entire mentality and world of thought is beautifully sketched. The suspicion of everything that comes from outside is because of centuries of isolation in their genes.
After a fight between the two farm neighbors and the death of Severo, the blossoming love between the murdered farmer’s son and the neighbor’s daughter determines the further story. The line of this story has been kept relatively simple and small, but is nevertheless sufficient due to the subdued play of the actors and the magnificent images with the calm camerawork that keeps the attention well. This is certainly not just a pretty picture film. Slowly and carefully a sketch of traditions and customs develops.
The way in which the young daughters are able to maintain and develop themselves in such remote regions and under such living conditions is credibly elaborated. The story about taking part in a local competition for the cow that produces the most milk is less strong. A small radio brought along means that the cow, apparently sensitive to cheerful music, is particularly stimulated to produce extra large milk. Fortunately, the scenario does have some surprising developments with regard to who actually is the perpetrator of the murder and to what extent Rai has suspicions about the identity of that murderer. A grumpy egotistical father turns out to be of the rough shell white pit type. That fits in with the story and makes it not too predictable. That ending will come to a good end, but we won’t reveal how here.