Re:View – ‘During The Storm’
Even though I became a Hispanophile a few years back, I always enjoy Spanish language films more than other world cinema because they tell new stories so well in the form of popular dramas, comedies, SF, suspense – in other words, everyday cinema. Rather as Hollywood was in the 1980s, Spanish cinema is unembarrassed about presenting us with breathless melodramas and tearful romances.
Take ‘Durante La Tormenta’ (‘During The Storm’ – a better title than the English language one, ‘Mirage’). It is impossible to summarise; a parallel-timeline murder-mystery-romance with an interesting central idea, played straight.
During a storm, a neighbourhood’s power is knocked out, throwing a nurse into a different life path. Her future was altered two decades earlier, during a similar storm. She now finds herself childless and in a different career, and realises that something bad happened during the first storm that changed her destiny. But as she tries to put things right the timeline becomes more confused and soon affects her neighbours…
Add some brain surgery, a murderer, the Berlin wall, complex time-travel rules, a forged passport, an old TV set that links two eras and an ill-fated romance and you’ll need a pencil and paper to keep track of the multiple time forks. Yet the plot stays afloat thanks to an enormous amount of Spanish emotion, especially concerning mothers and sons, and has a sublime score from Fernando Velazquez.
One cavil, the usual from this director, is that the end grace-note is inevitable, but frankly who cares? As the Hollywood Reporter points out, ‘what Mirage lacks in canniness it makes up for in ambition. The film can’t be pinned down to merely one or two genres: Not only sci-fi, but also noir, family drama and historical drama are present, correct and under control.’
The film is packed with time travel callbacks reminding us of earlier movies, especially ‘Frequency’, ‘Back To The Future’ and ‘The Butterfly Effect’. Spain is not new to time travel; there have been several films, including the terrific low-budget gem ‘Time Crimes’. ‘Durante La Tormenta’ is from Oriol Paulo, the director of eerie suspense puzzle ‘El Cuerpo’ (‘The Body’) and ‘Contratiempo’ (‘Against Time’/ ‘Setback’).
The film is currently showing in its original form with subtitles on Netflix.