Cinema Junkie by Beth Accomando
Elsa y Fred
Elsa y Fred (DistriMax)
Last year, KPBS, V-me and the San Diego Latino Film Festival hosted a screening of the charming Argentinean/Spanish film Elsa y Fred (now opening for a theatrical run on July 18 at Landmark's La Jolla Village Theaters). Screened at 2006 Palm Springs International Film Festival, Elsa y Fred features two Spanish language veterans, China Zorrilla and Manuel Alexandre, as seniors who have lost their respective spouses and who unexpectedly strike up a romance. Despite the film's popularity with the Latino Film Fest crowd, it has taken more than a year to gain a theatrical release here in San Diego.
Fred (Manuel Alexandre) is a hypochondriac that Elsa (China Zorrilla) diagnoses as more afraid of living than he is of dying. Elsa, by contrast, has a lust for life and dreams of visiting the Trevi Fountain in Rome, the site of Anita Ekberg's famous dip in Fellini's La Dolce Vita . The film succeeds essentially on the charms of its two leads and the contrast their characters strike on screen.
Director Marcos Carnevale co-wrote the screenplay with Marcela Guerty and Lily Ann Martin. Together they craft a feel good film for the senior crowd. The basic message is that it's never too late to start living.
Elsa y Fred (rated PG for some mild thematic elements and language) displays mature appeal with Zorrilla bringing a joyous lust for life to the film.
Companion viewing: La Dolce Vita, Harold and Maude, Where's Poppa?