Summer Rain Antonio Banderas

Summer Rain Antonio Banderas
Summer Rain explores the pain of knowledge and growth while pleading that the illusions of dreams are superior to the disappointing realities of achieving them. Thematically similar to Banderas’s directorial debut, Crazy in Alabama, Rain is a decidedly less mainstream foray into coming-of-age territory with a more pretentious hybrid of stylistic elements borrowed from Lynch, Fellini and melodramatic Spanish soap operas. It desperately wants to be more insightful and significant than it is but no matter how many colour filters and non-diegetic inserts are tossed about, Rain cannot help but be an overblown rant about the crap that life hands out. After recovering from a kidney operation, aspiring poet Miguelito (Alberto Amarilla) teams up with his buddies — the well-off Paco (Felix Gomez) and emotionally unstable Babirusa (Raul Arevalo) — for summertime fun around the community pool. It all starts innocently enough but inevitably delves into each individual’s loss of innocence. Babirusa meets up with local fat girl (Berta De La Dehesa) for some meaningless sex on occasion, while masking complex emotions surrounding his upbringing. Seeking personal meaning and exploration, he travels to London to visit his mother, only to discover that she works in the sex trade. Meanwhile, Miguelito sparks up a relationship with voyeuristic ballerina Luli (Maria Ruiz) but finds things problematic when she accepts money for tuition from a sleazy, mobster-like salesman named Cardona (Antonio Garrido). Miguelito also finds himself getting pelvic with his seductive and visibly older typing teacher (Victoria Abril). Rounding everything out is Paco’s run-in with his shady father Alfredo (Juan Diego), who disapproves of Paco’s working class girlfriend (Maria Nieto). The cast of newcomers and television vets deliver uniformly solid performances — no doubt inspired and influenced by Banderas’s own acting experiences — and the colourful visuals throughout are gorgeously framed by DP Xavi Gimenez. However, aside from these minor pleasures, Summer Rain is a floundering mess. When orgasmic cries are met with red filters and a cut to a tarantula sitting on a bed while a woman sits in front of a wind machine in the foreground with a satin sheet over her head, it’s difficult not to laugh. This desperate plea for art-house approval is little more than trite melodrama with unnecessary stylistic excess. (Mongrel Media)