SOBREVIVIRE (I WILL SURVIVE) is a fine little film from Spain circa 1999 that because of recent important legislation in that country becomes even more pertinent than when it was made. Co-written and directed by Alfonso Albacete, with assistance from David Menkes and Lucía Etxebarría, this is a fresh look at relationships and the human needs and the compromises faced in the search for happiness. SOBREVIVIRE is probably the healthiest and most intelligent examination of pan sexuality: it takes on tough issues and allows them to nurture the comedy that is life!
After an introduction of her childhood idiosyncrasies we meet the adult Marga (the superb Emma Suárez) wholly in love with Roberto (Adrià Collado), joyfully creating a home for their upcoming marriage. There is a car accident and Marga is injured but Roberto is killed, devastating Marga who has learned that she is pregnant with Roberto's child. At the same time she loses her job due to her disruptive friend Trini (Rosana Pastor) and must strike out on her own. She is denied government funds until she gives birth to her child and in desperation she falls into a video store ownership and takes on a Cuban au pair Rosa (Mirta Ibarra) who lightens not only her domestic load but also her spirit. Some years pass and Marga and Rosa become fast friends.
As Marga begins to feel the loneliness of being a single mom she meets handsome Iñaqui (Juan Diego Botto) in her video store. Iñaqui is recovering from a breakup with his boyfriend Oscar (Alberto San Juan) and is as attracted to Marga as she is to him. Iñaqui informs Marga he is gay, a fact that Rosa and other friends have already prepared her for. In full knowledge of each other's pasts they embark on a relationship that flowers with a subtlety and tenderness that allows us to feel the anxieties of each while letting the innate comedy shine through.
Iñaqui tries to forget his sexual orientation and is even able to override some temptations that occur. Marga fears that eventually the warmly human Iñaqui will eventually leave her and they admit to each other that neither has 'heard the music' that is supposed to come with romance. Rosa meanwhile has found love with a performer, Rolando (Manuel Manquiña) and convinces Marga to fly to Cuba to be part of her marriage. When Marga returns she realizes her devotion to Iñaqui, and since that devotion is mutual is shared, the two marry. How the film ends is magical yet real and deserves to be discovered by each viewer. Suffice it to say that it is a very realistic and intelligent ending.
Each of the actors in this bouncy little film is excellent with special kudos to Emma Suárez, a truly fine actress. Yet all of the other main characters are superbly handled and the supporting cast is equally fine, especially the 'together couple' José (Alex Brendemühl) and Carlos (Javier Martín). The music, the sets, the pacing, the editing and especially the direction are first class. This is one of those little movies that deserves a very wide audience. In Spanish with English subtitles. Highly recommended. Grady Harp, July 05