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In Madrid, a petty thief who cannot adjust to life outside of jail puts together a theater troupe her friends -- a prostitute, a gypsy, and a Colombian immigrant -- in an attempt to make a go at a relatively straight life.
Watching two of Marcos Carnevale's films you can start drawing coincidences and characteristics that identify the work of a director. What Carnevale does is very interesting, because he aims directly to the heart. He fails sometimes, as he did with "Elsa y Fred", because it becomes too common and unrealistic; but "Tocar el cielo" is a positive step in his career. It's not his best, though.
In another script written by him and other partners, Carnevale risks it big time, with a choral movie in two countries and with characters from every age group, leaving aside the only relationship he had dealt with in his previous effort; which took place in one country only and with fewer characters. He risks with other things too, like showing the movie's title ten minutes after it begins.
It's difficult to explain what "Tocar el cielo" is about You have to watch it because it demands attention from the viewer; it's definitely charged with a lot of things and the story lines are complex, with different readings and symbolisms of various types but you don't have to catch them all and you can enjoy the movie without doing it.
Is it good to have too much? Not in this film's case, because Carnevale hasn't mastered the art of 'connecting' and some cuts to black feel out of place. The intention is what's good, and "Tocar el cielo" never ceases to move, in that particular way of Carnevale's so strong and powerful writing that reminds us of the best Hollywood classics of recent times. And even when it has a lot of Hollywood on the table (there's one scene where a character has to ask for forgiveness and does it with written things on t-shirts, like the cards given to Keira Knightley in "Love Actually") and a big part of it occurs in Spain, "Tocar el cielo" feels more Argentinean than anything else.
Maybe it's Lito Vitale's unique score, or China Zorrilla's beautifully accentuated small appearance that we instantly identify with, or maybe it's Carnevale's communication with Juan Carlos Gómez, whose cinematography is sharper than ever when it comes to contemplating things from far away (it still needs some work in conversational scenes).
Also, there are some performances (besides China's) that anyone will appreciate if you don't like the movie. Facundo Arana's third cinematographic participation is his best and the good news is he can do better, Chete Lera's eccentric literature professor steals the show and Betiana Blum's tenderness wins every heart; which is, I repeat, Marcos Carnevale's objective when he directs and one that could be better achieved if it was closer to reality.
In "Elsa y Fred", you could see old couples enjoying the ride; here you should be able to see the whole family appreciating the joy for life the film has. Because we should clarify this now: Carnevale is not making television anymore, he is making cinema.
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