Review of Summer 1993

Summer 1993 (2017)
Just the necessary keys for you to feel emotional
18 November 2020
Warning: Spoilers
Carla Simón doesn't need a grand piano to thrill. A priori, Summer 1993 is simple and - for those of us who were born a little later - chronologically alien. It has neither unexpected script twists nor sudden conflicts beyond the one already given. However, it is never boring and was a candidate to represent Spain at the Oscars. This happens because we should not demand from Summer 1993 the same as from any other film. It is a daily, natural and own story - according to its director, autobiographical - but it appeals to an inherent and universal feeling in the human being: mourning. He does it through Frida (Laia Artigas), a six-year-old orphan girl, who begins to live with her uncles in the countryside after the death of her mother.

As an example. At some point, Anna (Paula Robles), Frida's little cousin, invites her to call her mother. Frida accesses the game, dials a number, and holds the phone to her ear, as if really waiting for an answer. At that point, we expect it too. What's more, even the sound of the phone picking up on the other side rings in our heads. In this case, in a great -but simple- script exercise, Simón is making us take metaphysical awareness of death from the perspective of a little girl: absence. And we all feel that.

And it is that the film magnifies itself in its particular way of being. The plans work psychologically, they introduce us to the girl's head and make us participants in her vision of the world; a vision affected by a trauma that remains expressionless - but perfectly represented - until the end of the film. In this sense, it is worth highlighting the contained performance of Artigas and the complicity that she maintains with the rest of the cast.

Summer 1993 is a film in which there is no more than what you see, but you don't need it because you are very clear about what you want to tell. Tender, pretty and thoughtful, she makes it inevitable to share with Frida the emotion of that final scene that, although expected, is hopelessly powerful. And, like the film itself, it does not need external elements, neither music nor other shots. It is enough for her to touch - or to have touched, at this point - the necessary keys for it to work.
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