Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Gloria (2013 film)




Directed by Sebastian Lelio and written by Lelio and Gonzalo Maza, Gloria is the story of a 58-year old divorcee who is trying to start a new life after marriage as she meets and falls for a man slightly older than her. It’s a film that explores a woman trying to start her life over as well as take part in a relationship with a man who wants to be with her but has attachments towards his own family. Starring Paulina Garcia, Sergio Hernandez, Diego Fontecilla, Fabiola Zamora, Alejandro Goic, and Coca Guazzini. Gloria is an evocative and compelling film from Sebastian Lelio.

The film follows the titular character (Paulina Garcia) who has been divorced for years and is nearing toward her 60s as she is trying to socialize while working and visit her two adult children. It’s a film that explores a woman trying to take the next step of her life where she would meet a man who is older than her as they would embark on a relationship but is often troubled by his needy family whom he’s divorced from. The film’s screenplay by Sebastian Lelio and Gonzalo Maza would follow Gloria as she is just trying to find someone to be with in her life as her two adult children are already having families of their own as her visits are welcoming despite the little time they have for her. When she meets Rodolfo (Sergio Hernandez) at a club that is often attended by people in her age group as they would get to know each other and begin a relationship. It’s a moment that would give Gloria something she needs in her life as she has to contend with a noisy neighbor who lives above her apartment as well as the fact that she’s getting older and is dealing with glaucoma.

In her time with Rodolfo, she wonders why he hasn’t said anything about her to his two daughters and his ex-wife as it causes confusion where she would invite him to a birthday party for her son Pedro (Diego Fontecilla) which is also attended by her daughter Ana (Fabiola Zamora), her ex-husband Daniel (Alejandro Goic), and his new wife Luz (Coca Guazzini). It’s a moment during the second act where Gloria realizes Rodolfo’s own big flaw as he isn’t just his devotion to his family but also in not telling Gloria about it. He tries to make up for it in the film’s third act for an outing with just the two of them but it becomes clear that Gloria’s need for companionship is much harder to get as it relates to Rodolfo and his family who aren’t able to take care of themselves.

Lelio’s direction is definitely straightforward in a lot of ways to explore the life of this woman trying to start the next stage of her life. Shot on various locations around Santiago, Chile as well as the Vina del Mar for the film’s third act, Lelio would definitely create something intimate to follow Gloria throughout the course of her journey as the film begins with her at a discotheque which is filled with middle-aged attendees dancing to disco, salsa, or anything they can dance to. It’s a place where Gloria could feel young though she feels old at the same time considering the people who are there as Lelio would use medium shots and close-ups for these scenes as well as scenes of Gloria at her home or with Rodolfo. While there are a few wide shots in the film that include a shot of a student protest in the background as Gloria is walking on the streets of Santiago in the foreground. It all play into Gloria feeling sort of detached from what Chile is becoming as she would talk with friends who don’t fit in with the values of today’s youth though they’re aware of what they can contribute.

Still, Lelio would follow Gloria in her need for companionship as there are moments of intense sexuality between her and Rodolfo as it play into their desperation to be together without any distractions. Especially in the third act at Vina del Mar where Gloria and Rodolfo are having their time with each other but it’s the latter that has become a problem forcing Gloria to see if there is a future for herself and Rodolfo. It forces her to see the reality of her life which she is aware of but also the flaws in Rodolfo in being there for a family that is always attached to him. Overall, Lelio creates a mesmerizing yet intriguing film about a 58-year old woman’s desire to find companionship to cope with her lonely life.

Cinematographer Benjamin Echazarreta does brilliant work with the film’s cinematography for the way the discotheque is presented with its lights as well as some of the interiors of the hotel/casino at Vina del Mar and for some of the scenes shot at night. Editors Sebastian Lelio and Soledad Salfate do excellent work with the editing with its usage of jump-cuts to play into some of the dramatic moments as well as straight cuts to play into some of the conversations between Gloria and Rodolfo. Production designer Marcela Urivi and art director Marcela Uribi do fantastic work with the look of the apartment home that Gloria lives in as well as some of the places she goes including the discotheque.

Costume designer Eduardo Castro does nice work with the costumes as it is mostly casual with a few designer-like clothes that Gloria would wear for a night out on the town. Sound editor David Mantecon does superb work with the sound as it play into some of the places the characters go to including the sound of the apartment noises from Gloria’s neighbor. Music supervisor Juan Ignacio Correa does wonderful work with the film’s soundtrack as a lot of the music in the film is played on locations as it is a mixture of disco, pop, classical, salsa, and world music as it include music from Donna Summers, Umberto Tozzi, Adan Jodorowsky, Gustav Mahler, and Antonio Carlos Jobim.

The casting by Moira Miller is terrific as it feature some notable small roles from Luz Jimenez as Gloria’s part-time housemaid Victoria, Eyal Meyer as Ana’s Swedish boyfriend Theo, Coca Guazzini as Daniel’s new wife Luz, Alejandro Goic as Gloria’s ex-husband Daniel, Fabiola Zamora as Gloria’s yoga-instructor daughter Ana, and Diego Fontecilla as Gloria’s son Pedro. Sergio Hernandez is amazing as Rodolfo as a former naval officer who is coping with the divorce of his wife and his desire for freedom from his adult daughters as he falls for Gloria but he is troubled by the fact that his ex-wife and daughters need him constantly. Finally, there’s Paulina Garcia in an incredible performance as the titular character as a 58-year old woman who is trying to find companionship as she’s approaching the age where she can be called a senior citizen as it’s a very graceful and restrained performance as well as filled with some sensuality as someone who still has something to offer as it is truly a great performance.

Gloria is a phenomenal film from Sebastian Lelio that features Paulina Garcia in a tremendous performance in the titular role. Along with a great supporting cast, a captivating story on aging, loneliness, and companionship plus a fun music soundtrack. It’s a film that explore what a woman will do to remain as vital in her old age proving that age is nothing but a number. In the end, Gloria is a sensational film from Sebastian Lelio.

© thevoid99 2017

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