Only Human

Only Human

2.5 out of 52.5 out of 52.5 out of 52.5 out of 5 2.5

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Anyone who equates Dominic Harari and Teresa Pelegri’s Only Human with the cinema of Pedro Almodóvar is either blind or racist. Álex de la Iglesia maybe, but not Almodóvar, who adapts movie lore to the present by putting it through a camp-fiery ringer; the hetero de la Iglesia is also a cine-scavenger but utilizes a television-proscenium perspective (likely a result of having watched too many movies on video). Both make vibrant films about contemporary Spanish culture, which is what Harari and Pelegri want to do with Only Human but only get half right: the film is contemporary but it definitely isn’t vibrant. With de la Iglesia’s Crimen Ferpecto, the film shares a main actor (Guillermo Toledo) and a young child with fantasies of being pregnant—this being a theological riff on Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner and not a comedy of the sexes, the little girl thinks her baby was immaculately conceived—but none of its visual imagination. The drab look of the film suggests a prom ball’s unspiked punch, but Harari and Pelegri’s clever verbal aesthetic saves the film. When Leni (Marián Aguilera) pays her Jewish mother Gloria (Norma Aleandro) a visit, all hell breaks loose when she reveals that her boyfriend Rafi (Toledo) is Palestinian. The story’s funny familial crisis takes on the dimensions of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: Rafi is essentially occupied and every confrontation he has with one of Lena’s relatives becomes some impossible-to-negotiate stand-still. The allegory is subtle and real—like Ellen Flanders’s Zero Degrees of Separation, the film acknowledges the strain politics have on Israeli-Palestinian couples—but dares to end on an unconventional note of promise.

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DVD
Distributor
Magnolia Pictures
Runtime
85 min
Rating
NR
Year
2004
Director
Dominic Harari, Teresa Pelegri
Screenwriter
Dominic Harari, Teresa Pelegri
Cast
Norma Aleandro, Guillermo Toledo, Marián Aguilera, Maria Botto