This summer is bringing Miami – aside from the usual heat – two surprises involving Spanish director and screenwriter David Trueba.
They are the international debut of his movie “Casi 40” (“Almost 40”) at the Coral Gables Art Cinema Friday at 8 p.m., and a conversation with Miami Film Festival co-founder Nat Chediak about Trueba’s latest novel, “Tierra de campos,” at Books & Books Saturday at 7 pm.
And there’s another curious detail linking the two formats: The movie was filmed in Spain during Trueba’s tour to promote the book, and uses the experiences of the tour to tell the story of the two characters.
The female character, played by Lucia Jimenez, is a retired singer with a husband and two children. The male role, played by Fernando Ramallo, sells organic beauty products and persuades his teenage love to start a tour of Spanish book stores in order to relaunch her musical career.
Jimenez and Ramallo debuted in the lead roles of Trueba’s 1996 movie “La Buena Vida” (“The Good Life”), so it’s a double reunion — of the actors, after 20 years, and their new characters, whose old romance we discover subtly, without intrusive flashbacks, through the heat of their mutual stares and the words of their songs.
“Meeting the actors again as they are about to turn 40, my intention was to tell the story of a slice of life that some would define as a second act,” Trueba said in a news release. “I don’t know whether human adventures can be defined with the structures of classical theater, but for me the passing of time is the heart of fiction. And this movie tries to tell that story, how time treats people, in this case people who had different experiences during their unforgettable teenage love.”
This is, in fact, a road movie that narrates, in an intimate and especially natural manner, the mid-life crises of characters approaching 40 years of age. A time in the lives of all human beings when youth has disappeared and we begin to ask ourselves who we are, what have we done and what happened to our dreams, which at this point have probably turned into frustrations.
That’s how this movie, which at times can seem to be slow, with languid pacing, is — in truth — a silent avalanche of emotions that take us to the edge of an abyss (a broken mirror), a place where nothing will be the same ever again.
The best part is a sense of casual movie-making, without great pretensions, which despite its existentialist and melancholic spirit, with a lot of dialogue, is a pleasant presentation that transports us to the Spanish countryside.
The movie won the Silver Biznaga at the Malaga Film Festival earlier this year, and Friday’s screening will be its international and U.S. debut.
Trueba, who is also a well-known journalist, actor, screenwriter and author, is remembered as the director of “Obra Maestra” (“Masterpiece”) in 2000, in which the lead role was played by his former wife, Ariadna Gil.
He also wrote the screenplay the documentary “Balseros,” which was nominated for an Oscar, and the 2013 movie “Vivir es facil con los ojos cerrados” (“Living is Easy with Eyes Closed”), which won six Goya prizes, Spain’s equivalent of the Oscars, including Best Picture.
His novel “Tierra de campos” tells the story of a music composer, Dani Mosca, who drives a hearse to bury his father in the city where he was born but is haunted by fragments of the sex, drugs and rock and roll from his past life.
Rubens Riol is an art historian and movie critic. Twitter: @rubens_riol
If you go
Director David Trueba will attend the red-carpet premiere of his new film “Casi 40” (“Almost 40”) at 8 p.m. Friday at the Coral Gables Art Cinema, 260 Aragon Ave. Tickets are $20. A pre-show reception, courtesy of La Taberna Giralda and Bacardi, starts at 7 p.m. The movie will play nightly through Aug. 23.
The presentation of the novel “Tierra de campos” will be in Spanish at 7 p.m. Saturday at Books & Books, 265 Aragon Ave. Admission is free but advance tickets are required.