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Spain, 2017


Directed by: Aitor Arregi and Jon Garaño

Screenplay: Aitor Arregi, Jon Garaño, Jose Mari Goenaga and Andoni de Carlo

Production: Xabier Berzosa, Iñaki Gomes and Iñigo Obeso

Soundtrack: Pascal Gaigne

Photography: Javier Agirre

​Just a little longer, until it's too late

 By: Ricardo P Nunes

Upon opening the family tomb to bury his father, the same one where he had buried his brother Joaquim (Eneko Sagardoy) years before after his untimely death, Martin (Joseba Usabiaga) discovers to his surprise that the grave is empty, without the slightest trace of his brother's skeleton . This is the opening scene of Handia (Spain, 2017), accompanied by Martin's background voice reflecting on the ephemeral nature of things, “despite their surfaces”. Based on real facts, the film by Spanish directors and screenwriters Aitor Arregi and Jon Garaño, is one of those films where the essence of its charm is its sincerity and, as it is a cinema, also its technical and visual accuracy. Set in the mid-century. XIX, right after the civil war between monarchists and Spanish liberals, in addition to its consequences in the personal lives of its characters, the film clearly brings out one of the most crucial marks of that period, as well as the states of mind that would last until today, the dichotomy between the old and the new, between the Basque country town and the industrial city, so evident in the whims of human agents who gravitate between these two quasi-spiritual planes. There is nothing more emblematic of this dispute than the fact that Martim, who had always dreamed of “America”, finds himself incapable of rough fighting in the field after an injury in battle, and that the city now represents more than ever for him the only way out as a way of life, even if it uses a less trivial or ethical resource, symbol of the very type of civilization that sees ahead: going as a precarious poor businessman through the main cities of Europe presenting his brother Joaquim, his deformity, like an earnest circus curiosity, until he, Martim, can perhaps amass enough silver to fulfill his dream of marrying the woman he loves left waiting in the remote Basque village and crossing the Atlantic with her without returning to find the good. -to be what all modern men like him should dream of. Except Joaquim, who perhaps because of his anomaly, wants more than his father, a recalcitrant peasant, to remain anonymous in his quiet and sleepy native village. But he lets himself be carried away by his brother's promise to stay together there, as soon as things are arranged, expressed in his eternal “just a little more to go”. 


Between tranquility and utopia

No wonder Handia has an aura that makes him a bit of a fable. A beautiful palette of pleasant colors, the film of natural and smoky light that its producers print in constant open shots, the care of photography, make it easier to digest the bad habits of the time and its aberrations. The role reserved for Joaquim in the plot, which could only be that of carrying the monstrosity of his figure, makes up the entire counterpoint of the story. For that, he needs to have and reveal all the poignant awareness of his drama, but in short, quick speeches, or in lonely or revolting tears against his brother's stubbornness, in painful physical contortions, which yielded his interpreter, Eneko Sagardoy, a well-deserved new actor statuette at the 2018 Goya, the Oscar of Spanish cinema. And so the long runs, between human vicissitudes in one of their most touching expressions, the ambiguous itinerary of individuals between the poetic balms of simplicity and hope and the intimate sadness with which they traverse it. Towards the end, there is that eloquent and grandiose image that few scripts manage to convey, one of the most striking of the human condition: as in Don Quixote, in which the madman regains his senses, but then those who were lucid around him realize that madness it was a form of hope in the world, and not even the spectator knows what is worse anymore. Joaquim, dying, wants to continue subjecting himself to the folly of his failed brother, who, in his hangover, had too late recognized the utopia of his company. Great movie. A grand toast to cinema as an art. 

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