En Tu Ausencia (In Your Absence) is a movie I have heard a lot about before getting a chance to get a hold of the DVD to watch it for myself. I have heard all kinds of rumors about it: being the ultimate Coming-of-Age movie, a powerful tale, provocative scenes…etc. In the end, when I saw it I was mostly impressed with the nature shots and felt a bit disappointed. The whole movie feels more like a reportage than a film in itself – either that or a documentary. Add the surrealism and beautiful visuals and you have a perfect arty festival film which, however, won’t be understood by everyone and doesn’t really have a chance to be a commercial success.
As I am writing this review, I am pausing and watching the director’s commentary. It’s quite comprehensive in fact – over 1 hour and 40 minutes — meaning that virtually the whole movie is commented on by Director Ivan Noel. Some of the interesting things he mentions are that the movie was shot with “No budget, no production help – nothing”. It had only two professional actors in the cast and that no make up was used in any moment of filming.
A film which has a main idea of “Covering the grounds of that transition between a childhood and adolescence”. As a rite of passage movie, En Tu Ausensia did pretty well – even though I admit that I started to believe that more after watching it once again with the director’s comments. In fact, the DVD is worth having just for them. My impression is that Ivan Noel would do a wonderful job directing short movies on the topic and does seem to have pretty intriguing and truthful views. I’ve also checked some other things written by him online in addition to the film itself.
The movie has several scenes (nudity mostly – nothing that weird for a Spanish movie anyway) that made my mom, who was watching it with me, shrug her arms. I guess she was thinking that the plot was going in a certain direction while, in fact, the story evolved in quite an interesting manner. Yes, there were a few seduction scenes (if I may call them that), but nothing that goes overboard or is very different than what happens in real life anyway. I myself felt quite as Pablo did kissing my first girlfriend, and I am sure many of you share similar experiences.
Of course Ivan Noel talked a lot in his comments about the music used in the film – written and performed by himself and Gonzalo Sánchez Salas (Pablo in the film). He mentioned that Gonzalo expressed interest in the guitar in the filming process and learned it incredibly fast, so he accompanies Ivan in recording some of the vibes. While I am on the sound, I should mention that I had a bit of trouble following the dialogue in the film. I think most of it is pretty quiet and, while I am not a native speaker of Spanish, I watched the film with someone who is a native and he had troubles with that too. If the idea was to make it sound like an overheard conversation, that definitely that was achieved as I had to really pay attention to get some of the dialogue.
Overall is the movie worth seeing? My answer is yes. I doubt it will it appeal to everyone, but then many movies don’t. Will I look forward to another movie from this director? Definitely!
Go figure …
Ivan Noel is currently working on another feature movie called Brecha – more info