Thursday, June 27, 2013

18 Meals (2010) or Life is Served

18 Meals is not a brand-new film, but it made it to the Spanish Film Festival (Festival du Film Espagnol) in Luxembourg only now. Good for us.

First thing I saw was quite some improvisation; it originally made me a bit dubious, but then certain characters and the pleasant rythm of the film won me over. 18 Meals (2010) was actually concocted in a rather experimental way: "Shot over nine days, the project began as a series of improvisations but very well-paced editing and a top-grade ensemble cast makes for an enjoyable, if not entirely filling, spread." to cite Hollywood Reporter.

Love, death, revelations, day-dreaming, everything can happen while eating. Or drinking. During the meal we are in a relatively calm state of mind; in a state of mind ready to be confused.

Eating is a bodily act; it calls for a certain ease from stress, also a certain degree of receptiveness, right? If we are opening our mouth to receive food, if we are ready to give to juicy-crunchy-colorfoul-tasty-light-unhealthy bits of nourishment the right to fill us up and keep us alive, then we are bound to be open to other things, too. Like sad or happy news and announcements, wedding proposals, work agreements, creative brainstormings and the like. There, you finally got the point of dining and wining in every single occasion -well, a great deal of meals are taking place to simply celebrate life, but that doesn't fall under my category. So, you can fall prey to somebody easier if you are his guest, that is. If he himself wants to devour you.

Very much unlike this last statement, Sol -a married woman whose son is telling her he dreamt of him being devoured by a dinosaur- is inviting for lunch a fling she once had. Nothing ever happened between them, but she has been dreaming of him at night lately, and it's been upsetting. On the course of the lunch we learn that she's not happily married -she is usually bored, that she was in love with Edu or Luis Tosar in real life, a street musician at the moment that offers us happy music intervals during the film, but she never dared to show it, just because he didn't make the first step. Edu is equally dumbfounded by the revelation; he admits that she was the woman of his life, but he failed to take the initiative because he thought he wouldn't have any response. All this thinking instead of saying things out loud the right moment led to not one, but two lives where the feeling that something is missing  reveals itself omnipresent, and one meal is not enough to resolve it.

Some of the 18 meals are fruitful, though. They take the co-eaters if not always in a culinary adventure, surely in a short excursion of mixed feelings, they even invite them to plunge in facts they will stay with them for the rest of their lives.

During meals, things happen. "Life is served - La vida esta servida" proclaims the film poster. During films, things happen, as well. We're not exactly in a state of openness there, but that of total immersion. At least, we try. Darkness helps. The fact that nobody's watching us helps, too. Except for Amelie Poulain, if she's around.

* That was a hell of a first feature! Thanks, Jorge Coira, and good luck.

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