Sunday, October 9, 2011



Lope de Vega (Alberto Ammann) returns to Madrid fresh from the war and gets reunited once more with his mother. After she dies, he declines his brother's invitation to go with him to Lisbon to join the armada. In his mother's belongings he finds his father's quill, which he immediately claims as his own and with it he writes his first masterpiece. A love triangle forms as he meets Isabel de Urbina (Leonor Watling), a childhood friend, and Elena Osorio (Pilar López de Ayala), the married daughter of Velásquez, his patron.

I am not a fan of Lope de Vega but I am very well aware of the popularity he enjoys in the area of Spanish literature. After seeing the film I automatically became a fan, in particular when the actor recites a few verses after being slapped. Who would not envy people who spit out flowery words impromptu? Too bad for him he falls victim to one of the world's many injustices.

Nobody said that the world is fair. People without talent have funds. People with talent do not. It is a sad reality but this mismatch is not unheard of. It was more blatant though during de Vega's period because of the lack of freedom of speech and the fact that he did not have a twitter or blogger account. At least he managed to thrive through all the adversity. And even if someone is lucky enough to have both, either business or art would have to bow down to make way for the other. It is too bad that both rarely coexist.

The social issues are so old world. Arranged marriages and daughters for sale! Lope and Elena have a thing going on but they have to hide it because she is married and her husband is at war. Oh wait, that is not old world, in fact that is so modern world adultery. Anyway, Lope and Isabel also have a thing going on but she is already set to be a nobleman's wife. That one is old world. Complications. No wonder he decided to use his words as his weapon. He had nothing else.

A theater fan would really enjoy this film because it also deals with the history of theater, at least in Spain, with de Vega being a playwright and all that. Theater as an art form has survived the test of time because it is all about improvisation. Even in a post apocalyptic setting it would continue to thrive because imagination never dies.

But more than war and theater, the real scene stealer here would be Lope's personal life, particularly his love life revolving around the two women. This is no longer a spoiler since this movie is about a historical figure, but the movie does end happily. Lope is sentenced to exile. And that is happy? Well, yes. He was not allowed to go back but at least he ended up with Isabel. And they had 14 children as per the epilogue. Now tell me he wasn't happy. I love how Elena becomes selfless in the end. At first I thought what she and Lope had was just lust, but surprise! She cares! And in the end she decides to let go. So No Other Woman! Ikaw na si Anne Curtis! At ang yaman niya, López na Ayala pa.

Sorry, had to let that out. Anyway I enjoyed this movie. I thought it was going to be some boring history lecture. It was not.

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