- La Buena Estrella
- The Lucky Star (1997)Ricardo Franco's intimate melodrama La buena estrella was one of the most critically praised films of the 1990s, and it won a number of awards that year, including the Goya for best film and best director. It was seen as Ricardo Franco's return to form after a few dark years, and a revelation of Antonio Resines' talent as a serious actor.The story was not immediately appealing, and its success underlies the potential of Spanish (indeed European) audiences to accept a more realistic take on relationships and emotions than the version manufactured by mainstream Hollywood film. La buena estrella's protagonist is a castrated butcher (Resines) who gives shelter to Marina, a one-eyed beggar (Maribel Verdú) who has a difficult relationship with Daniel (Jordi Mollá), a petty thief who has been sent to prison. Their relationship soon becomes love and they settle into married life, but then Daniel returns and decides to stay in the house with them. This could have easily turned into a soap opera. But Franco and his scriptwriters did not shy away from complex emotions, and achieved a film of rare psychological depth, unafraid of engaging with pain, extreme joy, and faithfulness. The Resines character is presented both as insecure and loving, and his essential goodness is counterbalanced by a degree of selfishness: he does believe in Marina's love, but is also jealous of Daniel. The latter is presented as a charming criminal who is finally defeated by prison life. Mollá's performance movingly plays up the cocky, sexy young man only to make him tumble in the last section. And Marina is a woman who feels love in different ways and is honest enough not to deny any of them: although she feels deep affection for her husband, she knows she would be incomplete if she did not come to Daniel's assistance when he needs her.
Historical dictionary of Spanish cinema. Alberto Mira. 2010.