Slough Cooperative Film Society Slough Cooperative Film Society

The Society has been showing the best of world and independent cinema in Slough for 70 years

 

17th September 2019 DATCHET VILLAGE HALL

EVERYBODY KNOWS (Todos lo saben)

Spain/France/Italy 133 mins Cert. 15

Laura Penélope Cruz Director Asghar Farhadi
Paco Javier Bardem Screenplay Asghar Farhadi.
Alejandro Ricardo Darίn Cinematography José Luis Alcaine
Fernando Eduard Fernández Editor Hayedeh Safiyari
Bea Bárbara Lennie MusicJavier Limόn
Ana Irma Cuesta
Mariana Elvira Minguez
Antonio Ramόn Barea
Irene Carla Campra
Rocίo Sara Sálamo
Joan Roger Casamajor
Jorge José Ángel Egido
Felipe Sergio Castellanos
Diego Iván Chavero
Everybody Knows poster

Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi brings his astute observational skills to Spain in this twisty, involving drama, which weaves in elements of a mystery thriller as it puts its characters through the wringer. A fine cast brings these people to life with a remarkable range of emotions, and the story has a gripping momentum as it explores complex ideas about connections between family, friends, community and the land itself.

Laura travels home from Argentina to rural Spain for the wedding of her sister Rocio, happily reuniting with her cranky father Antonio, older sister Mariana, brother-in-law Fernando and various cousins. Laura has brought 16-year-old daughter Irene along, and she instantly rekindles her romance with local boy Felipe. Then during the wedding Irene is kidnapped, and Laura's husband Alejandro flies in to try to help. And when Laura's lifelong friend and ex Paco becomes involved in the situation, tongues begin wagging.

The film's opening section is a bustling, lively explosion of joy as old relationships are rekindled and the marriage ceremony and party unfold. This shifts jarringly to wrenching confusion with Irene's disappearance, as darker feelings within this group of people begin to emerge, including old grudges, closely held secrets and local gossip. Intriguingly, the point is that everyone knows the truth even if they are afraid to say it out loud. And the most deeply guarded secrets aren't as hidden as people think they are.

Performances are very big, swerving between heightened happiness and devastating pain. Cruz and Bardem adeptly navigate this while keeping their characters bracingly grounded and easy to identify with. And their chemistry has a terrific sense of time to it. Darίn has a trickier role as the stoic Alejandro, an outsider with his own issues. And Lennie is sharply memorable as Paco's wife, drawn reluctantly into the events in ways she could never begin to predict, starting with a dress that no longer fits.

Farhadi is an expert at exploring the wrinkles of everyday life interrupted by unexpected events. This story sometimes feels overwrought in its emotional intensity, both the highs and the lows, but it's also strikingly realistic. This means that the audience is able to fully experience the rollercoaster of feelings, from the giddy happiness of family reunions and revisited friendships to the crippling fear of revealed secrets and potential tragedy. And what the film has to say about community is quietly profound.

Rich Cline at www.shadowsonthewall.co.uk