Black Nights Film Festival 2015. Review of “The Bride” by Paula Ortiz

Paula Ortiz’s second feature, The Bride, is a visually splendid adaptation of Federico García Lorca’s Blood Wedding. After festival bows in San Sebastián and Sitges, it screened in Competition at the Black Nights Film Festival.

This simple parable-like story is fundamentally a classic, ill-fated love triangle: The Bride, The Groom and Leonardo have been friends since childhood. Leonardo is married to The Bride’s cousin and together they have a child but he still carries a torch for his ex, The Bride. The story comes to an appropriately histrionic climax on the day of The Bride and Groom’s wedding when the former elopes with Leonardo after the ceremony and is rightfully chased by her spiteful new husband. The cataclysmic consequences thereof are clear from the prologue that frames the predominant part of the action in flashbacks, thus casting a weightily foreboding shadow over what comes next.

The latest big-screen adaptation of what is perhaps the most venerated Spanish play and Ortiz’s follow-up to her 2011 Chrysalis, is most certainly a different take from Carlos Saura’s 1981 flamenco interpretation of Lorca’s text. While resolutely sticking to Lorca’s original lines, Ortiz and co-writer Javier García Arredondo adopt a previously mentioned time-hopping structure, a feat much easier to carry out on screen than on stage. The fact that the outcome is already known does not make it any less absorbing or harrowing and the director succeeds in maintaining a frightening sense of apprehension until the bitter end. Ortiz, who has been fascinated by the Granada-born author ever since her adolescence has not only superbly and boldly spruced up Lorca’s timeless chef d’oeuvre but has also managed to make an aesthetically delicate female Western of sorts.

Setting the story in a meticulously unidentified time and place makes for an interesting creative solution. Lorca’s writing, the aforementioned liberties with time and space as well as the settings of Los Monegos in Spain and Cappadocia in Turkey are enhanced by Miguel Ángel Amoedo’s sumptuous sepia-hued widescreen lensing and the beautiful production and costume designs, courtesy of Pilar Quintana and Arantxa Ezquerro respectively.

Inma Cuesta delivers an outstanding performance as The Bride, emotionally constructing her character stuck between what her head tells her to do and what her heart wants. She is supported here by the stellar veteran and seasoned actress Luisa Gavasa, standing out in the role of The Groom’s mother. Unfortunately, Asier Etxeandía and Álex García give rather bland turns as The Groom and Leonardo. Also there is sadly no torrid chemistry between Cuesta and García…

Ultimately, The Bride is a bold and beautiful film delicately swinging between sublimity and experimentalism. It is a highly recommended gem of a film.



O.T.: La Novia. Production: Get In The Picture Productions, TVE, INCAA, Diputación de Zaragoza, Mantar Film, Cine Chromatix, Rec Films (Spain/Germany 2015). Producers: Alex Lafuente and Rosana Tomás. Co-producers: Jozef Amado, Sara Merih Ertas and Engin Yenidunya. Director: Paula Ortiz. Screenplay: Paula Ortiz and Javier García Arredondo. Photography: Miguel Ángel Amoedo. Music: Dominik Johnson and Shigeru Umebayashi. Production Design: Jesús Bosqued and Pilar Quintana. Costume designArantxa Ezquerro. Editing: Javier García Arredondo.

Cast: Inma Cuesta (The Bride), Asier Etxeandía (The Groom), Álex García (Leonardo), Leticia Dolera (Leonardo’s Wife), Luisa Gavasa (The Mother), Carlos Álvarez-Nóvoa (The Father), María Alfonsa Rosso (The Beggar), Ana Fernández (The Neighbor), Manuela Vellés (Girl 1), Verónica Moral (Girl 2), Laura Contreras (Girl 3), Jorge Usón (Master of Ceremony), Consuelo Trujillo (The Servant)

Color – 95 min. Premiere: 23-IX-2015 (San Sebastián Film Festival)


This film was reviewed at the 2015 Black Nights Film Festival. 

Tara Karajica

Tara Karajica is a Belgrade-based film critic and journalist. Her writings have appeared in "Indiewire," "Screen International," "Variety," "Little White Lies" and "Film New Europe," among many other media outlets, including the European Film Academy’s online magazine, "Close-up" and Eurimages. She is a member of the European Film Academy, the Online Film Critics Society and the Alliance of Women Film Journalists as well as the recipient of the 2014 Best Critic Award at the Altcine Action! Film Festival. In September 2016, she founded "Yellow Bread," a magazine dedicated entirely to short films, ranked among the 25 Top Short Film Blogs and Websites on the Planet in 2017. In February 2018, she launched "Fade to Her," a magazine about successful women working in Film and TV and in 2019, she was a member of the Jury of the European Shooting Stars (European Film Promotion). She is currently a programmer for live action shorts at PÖFF Shorts, Head of the Short Film Program and Live Action Shorts programmer at SEEFest and Narrative Features Programmer at the Durban International Film Festival. Tara is a regular at film festivals as a film critic, moderator and/or jury member.

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