The Oviedo Express train brings the theater company that represents ‘La Regenta’ to the Asturian city where Clarín’s Madame Bovary takes place. There, the situation of the novel is reproduced, albeit in a 21st century context: the mayor’s wife is a young woman with a mother who looks like her sister and married to a man who looks like her father. Theatrical actors will be a shock in the town and even the adultery of Ana Ozores will be repeated while the rehearsals for the performance take place in Oviedo.

The protagonists of ‘Oviedo Express’ They are Carmelo Gómez, in the role of Benjamín Olmo, an actor who lives his character at all times; Aitana Sánchez-Gijón as the actress Mariola Mayo, who represents the Regent on stage; Maribel Verdú as Mina, the mother of the Regent in real life, who is Bárbara Goenaga, with the name of Emma, ​​that is, the real Madame Bobary, Gustave Flaubert’s. Najwa Nimri is Bárbara, the lover of Emma’s husband, who is played by Alberto Jiménez. Jorge Sanz plays the actor who in turn plays Álvaro Mesía. Víctor Clavijo plays Leopoldo, the adapter and director of the play. Silvia Marty is Petra, a secondary actress, and Rulo Pardo is the stagehand Pirandello, whom everyone calls Pirindolo. With this argument as metalinguistic as it is reflexive‘Oviedo Express’ develops a story that is conventional in terms of its narration, but which takes up the madness worthy of a genius that is common in Gonzalo Suarezthat is: the absurd moments and impossible dialogues, full of puns, philosophy and humor. In the film there are such memorable phrases as “this necklace that cost Marie Antoinette her life now only costs an egg”. Is this one of the facets that most attract me to this writer, screenwriter and filmmakerTherefore, I appreciate that he has returned to this style of writing after failed films like ‘The Porter’.

The esthetic of the tape, with a photograph of the director’s brother, Carlos Suárez, maybe you can see something outdatedbut that does not mean that there are some planes made up as if they were paintings, For example, the one that shows Carmelo Gómez, dressed as a 19th century priest, waving his cape with the city behind.

It is difficult to evaluate the work of the interpreters, since there is in the film a artificiality and theatricality sought. In addition to the fact that these dialogues can only be said with a half smile, with a kind of sarcasm. Despite this difficulty, it seems to me that if one of the actors is not up to the task of the others, it is Jorge Sanz, while he struggles to achieve a more or less understandable diction. Still and all, his character has great moments. If I don’t say anything about the others it’s because they’re fine.

Suárez, in addition to filling everything with that tremendous wisdom about the art of acting, whether theatrical or cinematographic, and about creation; he also knows how to penetrate very deeply into the human psyche and in the conflicts that both others and ourselves can present. Personal ghosts, fears, envy, jealousy, egomania… The psychological portrait of all the characters that populate the film is carried out with great skill. It is also interesting the way that the city of Vetusta is represented within the play, as eyes that look and tongues that whisper, placing spectators both on the tables, as in the seats of that theater in Oviedo, as well as outside. the film itself, in us when we went to the room.

Instead of recommending or not recommending this film in a generic way, what I would do is divide the audience and suggest that all followers of Gonzalo Suarez well, Without being one of his best films, it has very personal elements of great value. To those who have not enjoyed other Asturian films, I would tell them that this perhaps has a more rational and conventional guiding thread that can make it more bearable, but that they will continue to find that absurd point that, if it was not to their liking until now, it will not be on this occasion either. So it would be preferable they refrained from going. Those who are not yet familiar with Suárez’s work could start here as with any other, although The best in my opinion is ‘The detective and death’, followed by ‘The anonymous queen’.

In Blogdecine | Trailer for ‘Oviedo Express’ and information about its filming.