Ana De Día


Reviewed by: Jennie Kermode

Ana De Día
"The stage begins to feel like the only space where anyone is honest, even when miming to somebody else's voice."

it's a common question for people to speculate about: what would you do if there were another you? Assuming some level of control, many people are quick to say that they would love to have somebody else to deal with all the boring parts of their lives so that they could have more fun - yet this angle is very rarely explored in films about doubles. Andrea Jaurrieta's film puts questions about the origins and nature of a mysterious doppelgänger on hold to let us watch one woman exploits its presence as an opportunity to reinvent herself, trying in the process to work out what's actually important to her.

Ana is on the verge of completing her studies in law. She's engaged to be married and she lives what most people would consider to be a very normal life, complete with shopping trips, family visits and sensible clothes that enable her to walk through the city in relative anonymity. When the double appears, apparently unaware of her existence, she makes no effort to defend her claim on this life but instead simply steps aside and lets it take over. Relieved of the burden of responsibility, she rents a small room, dyes her hair and gets a job doing what she always wanted to do as a child - dancing. The venue for this may be a low rent music hall but the pay is adequate, her co-workers are friendly and we get the sense that she has long desired an opportunity to walk on the wild side. Now she calls herself Nina - simply girl - and other people begin to perceive her very differently.

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How much do our personalities shape our choices in life and how much are they a product of those choices? As we still get occasional glimpses of the double, gradually a gap begins to develop between the two. Nina has a new role but she is also developing new ways of expressing herself, new ways of communicating with her body and her voice, even new ways of thinking. In the central role, Ingrid García Jonsson delivers a carefully measured performance that leaves us wondering if Nina is performing or if Ana was the artificial version of herself that she created for other people's sake. In the music hall, everybody is pretending to be somebody else. Even the man whom Nina becomes involved with has layers to his life and identity that he doesn't want to share. The stage begins to feel like the only space where anyone is honest, even when miming to somebody else's voice.

With subtle alterations in lighting and shooting style that enhance the feeling of drift between the two versions of Ana, this film - whose title hints at another tale of a woman reinventing herself, Belle De Jour - invites viewers to consider how, at any given time, simple decisions can drastically alter the course that any life takes. Yet whilst this may suggest a kind of freedom, we are soon reminded that no way of living is entirely without constraints. Jaurrieta shoots in small spaces, close in among crowds. Other people breeze in and out of Nina's room. Finding space to thrive requires more than this. In many stories, doppelgängers kill those they duplicate. One wonders if they do it out of sympathy.

Reviewed on: 22 Mar 2019
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The appearance of a double who starts living her life and fulfilling all of her obligations allows a frustrated woman to adopt total anonymity for the very first time and escape the tight regulations that have constrained her life.

Director: Andrea Jaurrieta

Writer: Andrea Jaurrieta

Starring: Fernando Albizu, María José Alfonso, Iñaki Ardanaz, Carla de Otero

Year: 2018

Runtime: 110 minutes

Country: Spain


Viva 2019

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