Day 219: Elsa & Fred (October, 14)

Another day that found me without any will to risk a new story... I took it then as an opportunity to fulfil an inevitable task: check out the American version to the outstanding Argentinean movie Elsa y Fred, 2005.

Shirley MacLaine and Christopher Plummer gave an English accent to two lovely characters in Elsa & Fred. But even them are not able to give a soul to this remake. The story is there, the characters (plus a few secondary characters), but it is empty, unfortunately. I thought that it would be like that, and that's what I was reluctant to watch this movie. However, I felt a kind of obligation toward it, in order to see what had been made of such a delicate story about love and dreams in a time of a person's life that society usually sustains that there's no place to any of it.

Usually, Hollywood remakes of good movies have the uncanny ability of taking out what is more important in the story. No reservations, 2007,did that to Mostly Martha, 2001, for example. The facts are there, no doubt. In this sense, these remakes excel in one thing: proving how facts don't make a story. They are not the life and soul of a narrative, and it is mesmerizing that movie studios didn't realize that by now. 

Fortunately, there's some amazing exceptions, as the American version (2011) to the Sweden adaptation of The Girl with The Dragon Tatoo, 2009. The known characters and story were there, but with a whole new dimension that added to the Swedish movie. But we're talking about David Fincher here, and it was very unlikely that he wouldn't deliver a great version of this incredible thriller. 

I missed the Argentinean version of Elsa & Fred. I missed the depth gave to this characters by the beautiful and complex performances delivered by China Zorrilla and Manuel Alexandre, despite the outstanding cast on this one. I couldn't avoid to keep going back to the original movie, in order to create a minimal relation to what I was seeing in front of me. And in doing that, the remake missed all the purpose to me. No surprises here, though. 

Those two <3
Elsa & Fred. Directed by Michael Radford. With: Shirley MacLaine,
Christopher Plummer, Marcia Gay Hardem. Writer: Anna Pavignano,
 Michael Radford. USA/Canada/Mexico/Puerto Rico,  2014, 97 min., Dolby
Digital, Color/Black and White (Netflix). 

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