La buena vida
Chile/Spain/Argentina/England/France, 2008, 98 minutes
Wed, Apr 29 / 8:45 / PFA / GOOL29P
Sat, May 2 / 7:15 / Clay / GOOL02Y
Mon, May 4 / 8:45 / Kabuki / GOOL04K
In taking on the ensemble narrative form, respected Chilean filmmaker Andrés Wood has created a complex and affectionate patchwork of stories about ordinary people struggling to follow their dreams in a dispiriting world. A social worker teaches prostitutes about safe sex; ironically, her troubled teenage daughter (in a brilliant, brooding performance by Manuela Martelli) becomes pregnant and can’t confide in her own mother. The daughter has dreams of her own: She is secretly writing a novel. A hairdresser applies for auto financing from a lonely loan officer, who quietly pines for him. He is lonely too, but family obligations stand in the way, leading to a bitter unraveling of their budding romance. An ambitious young clarinetist auditions for a hallowed philharmonic orchestra. Frustrated in his aspiration, he must settle for joining the army and a job with the military band. Home alone, he plays Puccini to fill the void. These small stories of perseverance and frustration are presented with such penetrating empathy that together they rise to the level of a human comedy of everyday life in the Chilean metropolis. Though the stories are told in parallel fashion and in only a few small instances intersect, they coalesce on a different plane. Driven by dissatisfaction and reacting against circumstance, everyone at some point is driven to commit thoughtless acts that had once seemed unthinkable. They struggle to make their lives work in an unaccommodating world where mere survival is chalked up as success.
West Coast Premiere.