lundi 30 juillet 2012

Movie Buff #3: Yo También 

Yo, También, a film by Alvaro Pastor and Antonio Naharro

What a movie! What a moving movie! It deals with the story of a friendship verging on love between a man with Down's syndrome (Pablo Pineda) and a woman with bleached hair (Lola Dueñas). It's brilliant, subtle, moving, funny. Characters are great, and way beyond clichés. The film avoids no touchy question, especially regarding disabled persons' sexuality, but deals with it with immense decency and tenderness. Yo, También is never creepy, always surprising. Daniel is an extraordinarily complex character, who is educated and blessed with an irresistible sense of humour and self-derision. But he faces all the rejections his physionomy inspires, while inside he's so "normal", so like anyone else. He has needs, desires, aspirations, fantasies. But he's more than average, that's for sure. He's sensitive, intelligent, childish, manly, outspoken and respectful.
As for Laura, she may suffer from no disability, but she's an outcast, maybe more than Daniel can be. She sleeps with every man she meets, desperately. She carries her sadness along with her despite her beautiful smile. She's got no relatives, or so she says. But the script makes us sense that she escaped some sort of violence when she left her father and brothers to live in Sevilla at a very young age. We guess she was the victim of incest on the part of the father. Nothing is ever clearly mentioned, but everything is crystal clear.
This is the force of the movie: respect, decency, subtlety. Things are unveiled little by little, as if not to break Laura altogether. And thanks to her extraordinary friendship with Daniel, we watch her inner strength grow, her self-respect appear.
Yo, También is a beautiful movie which adresses taboo issues such as the possibility of sexuality and love for the persons suffering from Down's syndrom and how society resents it, even the most comprehensive circles within it. Furthermore, we are particularly sympathethic to Daniel's quest for normality. For he was made normal by the constant stimulation of his mother. His fate reminds us of the Valladolid controversy, over the existence of a soul within Indians. We have to bear in mind that what Daniel faces is nothing less than xenophobia. The fear of the stranger, of the strange man, of the freak. His brother gives one perfect example of this: "No woman with 46 chromosomes will love you. Yet, these are the women you're always attracted to. Why don't you go to women like you?"
That's the point, no one is like him. He expresses it to his mother: "Why did you make me normal, why wouldn't you leave me as I was?"
Because maybe he would have been happy like that, like the "imbécile heureux", the happy fool who as no idea of how harsh his condition is and who can find love among the likes of him.
Daniel is in a sort of limbo. Trapped between intelligence, insight and physical appearence. But what is great about the film is that we sense that everything is possible for him. We don't want him to give up his search for true love. And the script seems to go this way...
But nothing is sure, it's up to Daniel now...

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