Monday, August 17, 2020

Movie with Abe: The August Virgin

The August Virgin
Directed by Jonás Trueba
Released August 21, 2020

Summer is a time that, for many, involves relaxation and a chance to unwind from the pressures of the rest of the year. Temperatures are typically warmer, which means that formal wear may be less needed in workplaces, and it’s when most with means choose to make their exodus from their normal homes to vacation in other areas. Those who either aren’t able to do so or have nowhere in particular to go are often left behind in places that become sparsely populated. This can feel lonely or isolating but can also open up the many opportunities that can easily get lost when muted or hidden by the presence of crowds.

Eva (Itsaso Arana) makes a bold decision to stay in Madrid, a place that is known to be unbearably hot during the summer, for the month of August. She finds a perfectly reasonable apartment and begins to wander the streets, meeting a number of interesting people as festive celebrations take place for Saint’s Days. She reconnects with an old friend who has recently had a baby, an ex-boyfriend who hasn’t moved on, and a few new faces who represent something other than what she’s known and encountered in her life thus far.

Eva is a protagonist who doesn’t know exactly what she wants but is aware that she hasn’t yet found it. On the eve of her thirty-third birthday, Eva is still exploring, and remaining in a city that empties out and leaves only those who have chosen to stay or don’t have the luxury of choosing to go somewhere else opens her eyes to a variety of perspectives and activities. This film meters her journey with title cards declaring the date, marking time as it passes slowly but transformatively, imbuing Eva with new experiences and a small sample of what each person she spends moments with sees in the world.

Arana serves as co-writer with director Jonás Trueba in addition to her starring role, one that truly guides and encapsulates this film. Arana bears a physical resemblance to Zooey Deschanel and Anna Friel and her screen presence feels like a wondrous combination of the way the two of them act, reserved and shy but beaming with youthful curiosity just waiting to be unleashed in a safe and inviting setting. She drives a film that is bursting with color and musical energy, embracing its sun-soaked setting and capturing the spirit of an eye-opening and sensational summer season.


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