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  Publicity Stills of "20 Centimetres"
Courtesy of Cathay-Keris Films

Genre: Comedy/Musical
Director: Ramón Salazar
Starring: Mónica Cervera, Pablo Puyol, Miguel O'Dogherty, Concha Galán, Macarena Gómez
RunTime: 1 hr 54 mins
Released By: Cathay-Keris Films
Rating: R21 (Mature Content)
Official Website: http://www.20centimeters.com/index.html

Opening Day: 12 April 2007


20 Centimetres, tells the story of Marieta, a transsexual who would love to get rid of the 20 centimetres that separate her from being the glamorous woman she dreams of when she falls into narcoleptic crises. In her colourful dreams, she sees herself as the center of different surprising and lavish musical numbers, such as Madonna’s “True Blue” or Queen’s “I Want to Break Free”.

Movie Review:

The structural framework of the decidedly bittersweet “20 centimetres” and its embellished story form takes a slight tumble in lieu of writer-director Ramón Salazar’s audacious dreamscape each time Marieta (Monica Cervera), his narcoleptic transvestite prostitute rescinds into a reverie of lavish proportions. Even as subplots are left in the backburner and secondary characters fail to flesh out, there is still a distinct sense that its oddly themed musical numbers is the film’s real headliner, with Cervera’s ballsy performance running a close second.

Brazenly referential, it cheekily cribs off Bollywood, old-school Broadway musical extravaganzas and 80s pop chic, which for the best part of Marieta’s expressive subconscious actually turns out rather fabulous. Then there’s even Salazar’s particularly bold self-reflexive flamboyancy that winks to the inevitable comparisons to his thematic cousin in Almodóvar. The energy that these musical numbers bring to the film contrasts the fairly sombre narrative that threatens to bring Marieta’s colourful proceedings crashing right down to earth. Morose enough for us to question whether her eventful, show-stopping scenes are a regressive retreat into fantastical stardom or just merely flights of fancy that occurs each time her narcolepsy acts up, which really should not be played up for tepid laughs considering what she does for a living.

Life altering decisions abound for the high-strung Marieta as she unexpectedly meets hunky grocer, Raul (Pablo Puyol) who finds both Marieta and her 20 centimeters of dangling flesh ravishing. The nascent romance poses a problem for Marieta’s hopes for the gender reassignment surgery. If the subplots revolving around Marieta were a juggling act, then the transsexual angst brought to the fore by Raul’s sudden appearance is its most slippery club. It becomes an awkward two-headed hybrid structure when it starts to raise questions about sexuality atop of sensuality that tonally fails to complement the kitschy tunes that veer in and out of the story.

Salazar admirably does not involve himself too much in the social conditions that the conventionally sincere Marieta and her motley crew of neighbours reside in. Every one of Marieta’s acquaintances and friends are characters in the truest sense of the word. Minorities on the wayside and freaks to all but themselves, Salazar lovingly observes them through heavily tinted lenses. He makes the dysfunction, function through them with ease, each with a backstory if explored, would be undoubtedly as interesting as his Marieta’s is. But if anything, Salazar’s supreme accomplishment would be cementing Cervera as the star of his production.

Movie Rating:

(A fearless leading performance fronts a tragicomedy with an assortment of fun musical numbers)

Review by Justin Deimen


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