The Sea Inside (Mar Adentro) Alejandro Amenabar

In the director's commentary of The Sea Inside (winner of last year's Foreign Language Oscar), Alejandro Amenábar (The Others) explains that he never meant to make an "issue picture," that his intention was to tell the story of one man. But since that one man spent 27 years fighting for the right to commit suicide, it's understandable that viewers might get the wrong impression. Though certainly a melodrama, the film's tone is far less depressing than the subject matter would imply and instead has a carpe diem-like feel. Ramón Sampedro (Javier Bardem) became a quadriplegic from a diving accident but still lived life to the fullest even as he was stuck in bed for a large portion of it. He wrote poetry with a pen in his mouth and wooed numerous women though he could not "love." But in his way, Ramón did love three different women: a married lawyer named Julia (actually an amalgamation of many female admirers, played by Belén Rueda), right-to-die advocate Gené (Clara Segura) and single mother Rosa (Lola Dueñas), who makes the ultimate sacrifice. Amenábar and Mateo Gil's script is adamant on its stance regarding euthanasia, yet the filmmakers were asked by his family that the name of Sampedro's "assassin" be changed, proving that this issue will never be cut-and-dry. The DVD's "making of" featurette is definitely worth watching if you have an hour-and-a-half to spare, as it lingers on every facet of the production in an intimate and unpretentious style. Amenábar wears most of the hats (directing, writing, editing, composing the score, even though he can't read or write music) with a sensitive obsession and Bardem's three-month character preparation is also impressive. Two correctly deleted scenes and a trio of still galleries (photo, storyboard and set design) are also included. Plus: trailers. (Alliance Atlantis)