Sunday, October 16, 2011

Mar adentro


Ramón Sampedro (Javier Bardem) twisted his neck in an accident almost three decades ago leaving him a bedridden quadriplegic. He wants to die via Euthanasia because he could not commit suicide, and enlisting the help of another person would mean a crime against society. Julia (Belén Rueda) is a lawyer who has a medical condition making her weaker every time she has a stroke. She decides to meet Ramón and represent him in court to plead his case. Rosa (Lola Dueñas) is a mother of two from Boiro who forms a friendship with Ramón, and whom he asks to help him commit suicide.

I’ve seen this one a few years back at Instituto Cervantes when my Spanish was still in its infancy. Back then I did not post movie reviews just yet. I just remembered how affected I was by this movie that when I saw it in the festival schedule I just couldn’t help but watch it again. This movie tries to spark a debate regarding euthanasia. It was only recently that I discovered that this is a true to life movie, and that Sampedro really existed, and that he really did what he did in the movie. However, after some scanning of online resources, I haven’t really found any development regarding the legalization of assisted suicide in Spain.

Come to think of it, when someone commits suicide and survives, he or she is not jailed. I think it is a right, very much like what is being said in the movie, life is a right, not an obligation. It just becomes complicated because of the involvement of other people. Although it is the wish of the main character to die, he is physically unable to do so. On the part of the helper, I think there would still be probable cause for murder because there in an intention to kill the person, even if that person is willing to. It is complicated! Could assisted suicide be likened to rape, in that if the other party was willing to do it then no rape has occurred because there was consent? It leaves me thinking. It is a rather baffling issue. It is effective in that it really makes you reflect on a lot of things about society and how we impose our systems of belief on others.

Dueñas and Bardem won a Goya each for this one, and the film won an Oscar. Thanks to the good acting, this movie really leaves an impact on you. From a linguistic point of view what I enjoyed about the movie the second time around are the dialogues in Galician. When I first saw it I was oblivious of the differences between it and Castilian. At least now I am able to pinpoint the difference. It is totally weird how I could understand the gist of what they are saying, although there are times when it is difficult, particularly when the brother speaks. His accent is hard to understand.

The movie will leave you wondering about life and what you would probably do if what happened to Sampedro also happened to you. Would you choose to live a totally dependent life in bed all day for almost three decades? Or would you decide to end it? Besides, if one has the right to live, one also has the right to die, right?

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