Summer Rain

Director: Antonio Banderas

spain/uk• 2006 • subtitled colour • 120 mins

Actor turned director Antonio Banderas follows his 1999 debut Crazy in Alabama with the altogether different Summer Rain, a broodingly intense adaptation of scriptwriter Antonio Soler’s prize-winning novel. Banderas takes a straight loss-of innocence yarn about a ’70s summer in his native Malaga and wraps it in layers of audiovisual trickery. The opening credits sequence sets the tone, as young Miguelito (sleepy-eyed Alberto Amarilla) recovers from a kidney operation to the accompaniment of some heavyduty dream imagery (blood, ballerinas). After leaving hospital he teams up with his buddies before entering a tentative relationship with wannabe ballerina Luli (Maria Ruiz). This intense liaison is later threatened by the arrival of Cardona (Antonio Garrido), a superbly greasy lingerie salesman who promises to help Luli fulfil her dreams. The cast is superbly directed by Banderas, but what sets the film apart is the visual style, with cinematographer Xavi Gimenez seeking out a language to communicate the poetic intensity of life as Miguelito experiences it.—Jonathan Holland

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