Flores de otro mundo

Flores de otro mundo
Flowers from another world (1999)
   Icíar Bollaín's Flores de otro mundo is an original, fascinating, and restrained approach to Spanish machismo and xenophobia set in a small village, an inflection point in a strong tradition of rural drama, inspired by real attempts by men living in the countryside to bring in women from other locations. On one level, the main impulse of the film lies in social documentary. The women, "flowers from another world" of the title, find all kinds of difficulties in growing roots and getting used to such particular, sometimes hostile new land. But Bollaín's film is also a very engaging narrative following the fates of three such women, and one that gives their stories detailed attention and uniqueness. The filmmaker never forgets that, rather than simply a representation of positions in a debate on racism, the characters are first and foremost complex human being with individual psychologies.
   After the caravan of women arrives in the village, the film focuses on three couples. The first, Patricia (Lissette Mejía), is a strong-minded Dominican woman with two children who has to overcome prejudice and hostility when she marries Damián (Luis Tosar), who lives with his judgmental mother. The second is Milady (Marilyn Torres), a feisty younger girl that a wealthy man (José Sancho) brought with him on a sexual tourism expedition to Cuba. It is clear that she has another boyfriend in Italy and just wants to take advantage of the situation by getting papers and leaving her husband. Finally, there is Marirrosi (Elena Irureta), a mother who comes from Bilbao and begins a relationship with amateur botanist Alfonso (Chete Lera), but will eventually find it impossible to adjust to the demands of life in the village. Throughout the film, a chorus of older men observe the three relationships as they go through difficulties, and their comments provide a good summary of traditional attitudes in the heart of the country.
   Shifting between the social and the personal, the film does not provide easy solutions, just as prejudice cannot be resolved in a simplistic way. Still, in its sensitive look at the situation, the film provides a reflection on a key problem, and it became one in the late 1990s wave of films that adopted a feminine perspective to deal with women's issues.

Historical dictionary of Spanish cinema. . 2010.

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