Directed by: Alejandro Agresti | 80 minutes | drama | Actors: Carmen Maura, Rodrigo Noya, Julieta Cardinali, Alejandro Agresti, Jean Pierre Noher, Carlos Roffé, Lorenzo Quinteros, Fabián Vena, Marina Glezer, Stéfano Di Gregorio, Mex Urtizberea
A small squinting boy with huge glasses looks right at you at the beginning of the film. These are often the mess of the class, but eight-year-old Valentin (Rodrigo Noya) is an exception. Valentin stands his ground and continues to think positively. This is made clear by the humorous monologues that Noya delivers wonderfully soberly. With these monologues and accompanying images of Valentin with his grandmother (Carmen Maura) you will be introduced to the story. Noya knows how to convey his charms as the cute Valentin. The question is whether Maura could draw on her own experience as a grandmother. But she does a good job as Valentin’s mothering grandmother. Maura plays very temperamental and also knows how to restrain herself when sadness gets the upper hand in her character. The beautiful Julieta Cardinale first appears to play superficially as Leticia, but you can see her thawing step by step, as it were. Cardinale lets the character develop into a very warm personality. That’s why it’s not hard to see why Valentin gets a soft spot for her.
Alejandro Agresti, screenwriter and director, plays Valentin’s father. Agresti has opted for a smooth way of telling his own scenario. No long-winded scenes, but smooth transitions of different events. Agresti wastes no time portraying the history of Valentin’s parents or the death of Valentin’s grandfather, which benefits the speed of the story and the humor. Otherwise, ‘Valentin’ would probably have taken on a somber undertone. It’s not that the movie doesn’t have any sad moments at all. There are certainly. But Agresti manages to avoid the real gloom, thanks to Valentin’s optimistic dialogues and his view of the world. So you see him talking about a somewhat chubby girlfriend of his father, who is a flight attendant. Surprised, he says: “Isn’t she flying alone in a Hercules?” But the way of putting things into perspective is also refreshing.
Valentin would later like to become an astronaut, but doesn’t see his squinting as an obstacle. “I squint a bit, but maybe astronauts don’t have to look straight.” The tissue box can be left untouched, because ‘Valentin’ is an endearing film that you sit down with a smile. Agresti’s film gives you a good moral: you are the maker of your own happiness.