This award-winning Chilean film, about a 50-something divorcee seeking to kindle a new relationship, was awarded The Silver Bear for best actress from The Berlin International Film Festival late last year. It honored Paulina García for her portrayal of a warm, lonely but resilient professional woman whose social life revolves around the nightclubs of her native Lima.
One evening, she accepts an invitation to dance from Rodolfo, a retired naval officer played by Sergio Hernández. A quietly intense romance develops from that chance meeting, but Gloria soon realizes her new lover is still emotionally and psychologically attached to his ex wife, who uses their 3 daughters to lure him back into his former life. Gloria’s children, (a grown son and daughter) are equally important to her, but Rodolfo sees them as an intrusion into his involvement with their mother even as he insists on the primacy of his obligations to his ex and their daughters in his own life.
Rodolfo’s insistence that he’s “ready to move on” prompts Gloria to continue their relationship despite disturbing signs of his indeciviseness and those concerns culminate in Rodolfo’s sudden disappearance in the middle of a weekend tryst which he promised would prove his sincerity about charting a life with Gloria. Angry and deeply hurt, she confronts Rodolfo outside his former wife’s house before going on to a club where friends invite her to join them in an evening of dancing…
Ms. García is an accomplished actress and acting coach with more than 20 film roles and numerous awards to her credit. She provides an extraordinarily nuanced performance akin to that of Gloria Pires, the Brazilian actress who radiated the same type of emotional sensitivity in last year’s Reaching for the Moon. Both these splendid actresses, are only now being introduced to American audiences - - and their talents demonstrate Hollywood’s continued failure to create roles for mature women that speak candidly and insightfully to the issues facing them in the later decades of their lives.
Ms. García’s performance transforms Gloria’s downbeat storyline, wringing wistful stoicism from a script which, in less talented hands, would have been routine soap opera material. It’s a shame that movies like this have such a limited theatrical release here in the U.S.
The Verdict? A poignant, insightful and deliciously sexy portrayal of love, loss and the refusal to surrender to disappointment.
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