Friday, February 25, 2005

See the Sea Inside

Thank you to Sarah Evans for submitting this film review:

Ramon Sampedro lives in a farmhouse in rural Spain, surrounded by beautiful countryside, with his father, brother, sister-in-law and nephew. Now in his 50s, he is a quadriplegic of more than twenty years. Diving into the sea, he hit his head and broke his neck. This scene is shown a few times in the film, each time chilling to watch, and evocative. The story follows Ramon's 'journey' as he tries to persuade those that love him and the high court that he should be allowed the right to die.

The plot develops as two women enter Ramon's life to help him. The lawyer, Julia, is has a terminal degenerative disease, and Rosa (a local Spanish girl with two children) who having seen his plea on the news, befriends him with the intention of giving him a will to live.

This poignant topic is explored with maturity and balance by the director (Alejandro Amenabar), and deals with the religious, familial and social implications with a delicacy of untangling single hairs.

A further highlight is the setting. Moving music contrasts with landscapes and beaches that calm the emotion -- portrayed most often when Ramon takes flight in his dreams, liberated from his bedbound waking state. These evocative scenes frame this watercolour perfectly, which is all the more vibrant for being spoken in Spanish.

Rarely am I moved by films, but the Director surrounds Ramon with different characters all of whom portray their varying feelings towards his wishes. There is someone for everyone. It is gratifying to have alternative opinions explored and leaves the viewer feeling even more involved.

This is an excellent film both provocative and moving, and one I would strongly recommend especially if you're in the mood for an experience. 5/5!


aj said...

Being in spanish, one doesnt really consider the title until the end of the film. 'el mar adentro' or the sea inside refers to Ramon taking flight in his mind as Sarah describes in her review. this is shown in my favourite scene from the film where ramon tentatively moves his fingers, slowly gets up from his bed and in a crescendo runs down the corridor and leaps out of the window, and flies over the beautiful galician countryside before swooping over the breathtaking sea, his vision of liberty, albeit the very entity that took away his freedom in the first instance. the fact that he was a sailor and travelled extensively like his brother before his accident reinforces the strength of his bond with the sea. he comments he can smell the sea when the wind is right, and at the end of the film moves to an apartment with Rosa that has a picturesque sea view. Like Bauby's escapes into the realms of gourmet cuisine, Sampedro visits his sea inside to cast aside the chains of his bedroom.

anjali said...

i've just seen the film in my flight over to Boston. fabulous, cried lots and loved it more.

like you've both mentioned i loved the flight scene too. i was surprised at the ending.

on the whole i thought the film was just beautifully done, wish i'd seen it on the wide screen!

i'd be interested to read his book if it exists and has been translated, anyone know any more about it?