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Alejandra Márquez Abella | Semana santa

[…] One of the greatest virtues of Semana santa is this parallel treatment of the characters, which is difficult to do in films, but very successfully done here. The film becomes polyphonic, and even the camera and music are propelled beyond their initial boundaries.

The holiday season is a time for distraction, but also a time for concentration: a classic moment of crisis. And the crisis comes even though the holiday is a moment to ask oneself “what do I like?”, “am I doing well?” They are explosive questions, as they imply more troubling questions about the self, values, objectives… But the semana santa, the Holy Week, is a particular holiday with a specific structure. So the film itself develops following the structure of the four steps of the Holy Week: the image of a cohesive family (the Last Supper),the crisis of each character and their relationships (Good Friday, the death of Christ), the sabbatical voyage into the liberation of one’s individuality (the Saturday passage through Hell), the re-composition of the family on a new basis (the Resurrection of Easter). From this initiating and transformational process, the fixed image of the traditional family is destroyed while the hope for a new way of coexisting stems only from each person’s repossession of the “self”. This process is particularly dramatic for the woman, who has to reinvent her role as a mother, wife, daughter, friend, and woman. Each of the three characters has to go through this reformative journey, has to take a lonely step to overcome his/her limits and mental blocks. One of the greatest virtues of Semana santa is this parallel treatment of the characters, which is difficult to do in films, but very successfully done here. The film becomes polyphonic, and even the cameraand music are propelled beyond their initial boundaries. This first feature by Alejandra Márquez Abella is a fantastic experience! The Special Prize of the Jury, won at the Festival International de Films de Fribourg, is fully deserved.

Text: Giuseppe Di Salvatore | Audio/Video: Ruth Baettig
First published: May 09, 2016

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