LIFE AND NOTHING MORE (LA VIDA Y NADA MÁS) (2017) by Antonio Méndez Esparza
“The lightness of daily sadness”
Recognised by the prizes won in San Sebastian, which won the Fipresci and the Signis Prize, this modest Spanish production has managed to sneak into the hearts of audiences and critics almost unanimously.
This is the second film by the filmmaker Antonio Méndez Esparza that after his sounded premiere with “Aquí y allá” (2012) with which he took home the Cannes Critics’ Week award, he returns to theaters with a tape that could well be a clear example of American indie cinema, but done here, which has already inri the thing.
“Life and nothing more” (2017) presents us an unstructured American family, with a courageous mother, beautifully interpreted by Regina Williams, who fights tooth and nail to move on with her life, her home, her ex-partner in jail, a taciturn and hateful adolescent son, who begins to flirt with street vandalism and his little daughter, who is cute and who embodies the tenderness and innocence of children who live totally oblivious to the multiple adversities that the world presents
All this framed in the life of a suburb of the USA, that in spite of showing the omnipresent conflict that supposes to be of black and poor race in that country, does not stop showing some breath of fight and hope, personified in the character of Regina, a whole fighter; Maybe because she is like that or maybe because she has no other choice.
The character of his son, Andrew, played by Andrew Bleechington, is perhaps the one that overwhelms us, but because of the terrible sadness and helplessness that follows, seeing how it is almost impossible to get him out of the wheel in which all the kids of his age and surroundings seem to be involved.
But make no mistake, there is a great message of hope and self-improvement hidden in this plot, that despite its simplicity and the masterfully played trick of chance and the sometimes disconnected narration, make this film shine almost (apparently) propose it.
Méndez Esparza, shows us a hard and ruthless world, without melodramas hackneyed and cheap, playing with a photography and atmosphere very polished and perfectionist, totally obviating the background music, as well as any beautifying element, almost touching the documentary; positioning itself as one of the most promising directors of the current independent home cinema, and the competition is tough, so more in their favor.
“Life and nothing more” is, in short, a crude and realistic portrait of a world that we all know, but that does not stop interest us; which leads us to empathize with the female protagonist, even those most insensitive. That shows us, on the one hand, that in our country we know how to make good independent cinema talking about a topic that perhaps seems a bit foreign to us and, on the other hand, that we can address the issue of social exclusion and the pursuit of happiness without falling in fatalism and demagogy.
Traducido por: Eduardo Llorente.
Our rating: (3/5)