QUICK AND DIRTY: LIVE FROM TALLINN
Xndrea (Lupe Mateo Barredo) is a shy and yet headstrong teen living with her mother and two little brother Tomas and Fidel in Cadiz, a Spanish coastal town adorned with Moorish architecture and surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean. The weather is cold, presumably winter, and the beaches are windy. The vastness of the seascape is combined with the quietness of the streets in order to create a sense of solitude. Andrea attends school with her younger siblings as normal. She often walks them home, and even gives a hand with raising the children, assuming a maternal role. At one point she challenges her parent: “You are their mother, not me”.
One day, Andrea walks past a building where a male is barely discernible at the window. She tells Tomas and Fidel that the man is their estranged father. She attempts to approach him at the port where he works, but he simply blanks his own daughter. Andrea is left despondent, and determined to find what is it that happened to the man that once visited his children often. Was it something her mother did? Did he perhaps find another partner who rejects his previous offspring? Or is there perhaps a more obscure and sinister reason? Andrea does not necessarily want to reconnect with her father, she simply wants to have an explanation. Knowledge brings comfort.
This is a movie about the decisions that adults make and their repercussions for children and teenagers. Anyone who saw their parents divorce will recognise the challenges and the conflicting emotions that Andrea experiences. Young people are capable of vicarious sentiments, and they often pay the price for the mistakes of their parents. Andrea cries the tears of her mother, a strong-willed woman who refuses to share the secrets of the past with her oldest child. So Andrea resorts to an extreme measure, which infuriates her mother, and could have repercussions for the whole family.
The young Lupe Matteo Barredo delivers a quietly heart-wrenching performance, deftly conveying the complex feelings of paternal abandonment and disenchantment that an adolescent can experience. This is a tender, straightforward, slow and plain drama that gradually proposes different solutions to our protagonist. Don’t expect shocking twists and narrative acrobatics. There’s a touch of Eric Rohmer’s casualness and also perhaps even an element of social realism, particularly when then government institutions step in in order to resolve the situation. Yet this isn’t so much about a system failing citizens, but instead about ordinary, fallible people failing vulnerable loved ones. Most importantly, this is a relatable story guaranteed to touch the hearts of film lovers of all nationalities.
Andrea’s Love just premiered in the Official Selection of the 27th Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival.