Thursday, 17 March 2011

El Viaje de Carol - Journey of Carol

2002 by Imanol Uribe

Aurora had left Spain for America with her American boy friend Robert, when she was pregnant. She had done this against the wishes of her family who wanted her to marry Alfonso, who in turn marries Aurora's sister, Dolores. It is civil war in Spain, between the leftist Republicans and Franco who later becomes Spain's monarch. Robert is a fighter pilot, who is fighting for the Republicans against Franco.

In 1938 Aurora is back to Spain with her 12 year old daughter, Carol, who is introduced to her grand father and her aunt Dolores and Alfonso. Aurora meets her old time teacher and best friend, Maruja, to whom she confess that she is dying. Carol, initially has some problems with some village boys, but get friendly with them slowly and is really attracted to Tomiche. Tomiche had lost his father, who was killed by Franco's soldiers. Interestingly, except for Carol and her mother, rest of the family are all wishing for a take over of Madrid by Franco.  Carol shares some nice time with Tomiche who is there with her for everything. Aurora dies soon. Carol doesnt want to live with Dolores and Alfonso, she is friendly with their daughter though, and convinces her Grand father to stay with her, in their family home. Carol also doesnt want her grand father to inform Robert about Aurora's death. She is afraid, it will be too much of a hard news for her father in the battle field. She even makes Maruja to write a letter to Robert, pretending to be Aurora.

Carol celebrates her birthday, where she also invites Tomiche and the boys who actually are from poorer classes to attend such a function. A fighter plane flies low in the village at this time and Carol is sure its her father, who does throw out a present for her. In the enclosed letter Robert also informs Carol about his knowledge of Aurora's death. Soon Franco is the monarch. Robert is now somebody who is wanted by Franco's regime. He does manage to visit Carol and there are soldiers after him. Tomiche tries to find an escape route for Robert, but is shot dead in the attempt. Carol returns back to her grand parents in America, knowing that her father is only a prisoner of war and can join her back very soon.

A simple and nice story told through the eyes of a 12 year old girl (its based on a novel). This is not a children's movie, nor is it a war movie. Basically it is about a clever little girl coming back to her mothers village and meeting a boy whom she likes. But war is there in the back ground, which is an influence on everything happening around and is instrumental. In that way, this movie should have been complex, but it is so nicely told that we want to forget about the war and just concentrate on the girl. We even feel nostalgic about our child hood. The pre adolescent love between Carol and Tomiche is so beautifully told that we are in for a real shock at the end. I simply did not understand why the boy had to be killed.

Clara Lago who plays Carol is more than brilliant that she carries the whole movie. Carol, who likes to be in a sailor suite kind of dress always, is clever, bold, independant, curious, kind and lovable. I could not believe her expressions in some scenes. She is so beautiful and charming and we feel relaxed watching her smiling. May it be her scenes with her mother or grand father or Tomiche, all capturing different emotions, she is brilliant and unbelievable. Her beautiful smile and her charm still keeps playing in my mind, long after the movie. I really would like to know where she is now. I hope she is an actor. She will be a great actress.

There are many beautiful shots, especially of the lush village out doors, that we always feel we are in a beautiful village. Some of the indoor shots, surprisingly, do not have the same levels.

While watching Carol and Tomiche together, I was wondering, had this move been shot in India, would India's Fanatic religions and the moral Police groups had allowed some of those scenes to be shot or shown? Similar pre adolescent love occurs among Indian children too, but to show it in movies, I am sure, that would have caused a furore here.

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