A hyper-realistic portrait of an adrift generation
Hermosa juventud is the fifth full-lenght film by the Catalan director Jaime Rosales, exponent of what might be called the “nouvelle vague” of Spanish cinema, sort of poisoned fruit, tempting and dangerous at the same time. After an economics education, Rosales turns his career toward to the movies studying direction in Cuba and Sydney. His “method” is undoubtedly against the tide, on the edge of the mainstream (his last film was produced without government loans) with a preference for those shocking themes, incredibly committed and anchored to the reality… in a nutshell: unspeakables.
Jaime Rosales expresses in his films his own vision of the world, without false modesty or taboos, in a constant search for truth and sincerity.
Hermosa juventud is an evocative title, ironic and ambiguous at the same time. Ambiguous because, despite being deprived of the present (and future) that doesn’t offer anything except boredom and frustration, this 2.0 generation still manages to be bright and beautiful – a haunting beauty impossible to categorize and incredibly sensual. Hermosa juventud causes mixed feelings of attraction and repulsion: bewitching us but at the same time encouraging us to run away, somewhere safe. The latest work by Rosales, presented at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival for “Un certain regard” category, depicts the Spanish youth violently confronting herself with nowadays economic horrors. Rosales signed an intimate film poles apart with the melodrama that depicts the daily life of a young couple that tries to survive in spite of the difficulties and the sadness of a distressing and almost surreal present.
All his five full-lenghts movies are uncompromising portraits of the everyday life of ordinary people confronted with difficult situations, where violence is omnipresent. Nothing glamorous or easy sugarcoats in Rosales movies but the hard truth of this distressing and suffocating present. His films are a unique experience for the viewer that is literally engulfed by the screen, hunted in a running battle between reality and fiction. Our Catalan director establishes a tense and numb climate due to the long shots, extremely “clean”, without music or camera movements followed by moments of über brutal violence (rarely shown) that creep into the narrative as electric discharges.
Rosales wants to capture the delicate and sudden moments where the everyday banality turns into horror, showing the fine line that separate normal from monstrosities. His vision has never been Manichean, otherwise shows how the gray area that separates good from evil are permeable and unpredictable. A master of reality, reminiscent of Antonioni and Andrea Arnold. A necessary punch in the stomach.