“The best movie ever”

A bridge maybe or would you prefer a movie? Pharmaceutical entrepreneur Humberto Suárez (José Luis Gómez) is unsure. Just turned 80, the billionaire wants to create something lasting of value so the world doesn’t just remember him as an old, white, rich man. He decides on a movie. Although he has no idea the subject, it is clear to him that it should be the best film ever.

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The template for the upcoming classic must come from a Nobel Prize winner

His assistant immediately acquires the rights to the novel from a Nobel Prize winner. The director is the eccentric filmmaker Lola Cuevas (Penélope Cruz), whose works have titles such as “The Reverse Rain”, “The Emptiness” or “Fog” and have been showered with awards at festivals.

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Since the self-proclaimed producer has not read the novel, which cost him a fortune to license the film, the director has to explain the story to him. It is about two brothers, one of whom, drunk behind the wheel, drags his parents into a fatal accident, of which he is the only one who survives. The older brother then arranges for the younger one to go to jail for many years. After he is released, the sibling conflict flares up again as both fall in love with the same woman.

The director trusts her star confrontation

Lola has clear ideas for the cast of the two main characters: she wants the acclaimed stage actor Iván Torres (Oscar Martínez), who is considered an incorruptible enfant terrible on the theater stage, for the first time in front of the camera with the Spanish Hollywood star Félix Rivero (Antonio Banderas). bring. In this connection, she wants to use the artistic origins of the two fundamentally different mimes and contrasting approaches as suspense potential in her film. The nine-day rehearsals then begin in a huge, deserted convention center belonging to the pharmaceutical company.

In “The Best Film Ever”, Argentine director duo Mariano Cohn and Gastón Duprat (“Nobel Laureate”) create an intense, satirical chamber play about the interactive hardware of filmmaking: the relationship between director and acting, which challenge each other in the joint creative process. Lola puts her two main actors before new and more extreme tests to get through their overwhelming self-esteem to the emotional core.

A floating boulder should teach the actors fear

In the very first rehearsal, she gets the drama’s great master, Iván, to repeat the dialogue words “good evening” seven times until the right pitch is struck. Later, the actors have to sit under a huge boulder held in the air by a crane to feel the sense of fear required for the stage. On another rehearsal day, the two are tied together with household films while the director dumps the actors’ prize trophies (and her own) in metal grinders. But even this violation does not connect Iván and Félix with each other, but intensifies the competition between their artistic egos.

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“The Best Movie Ever” is as highly concentrated as it is very entertaining. The precise, extremely imaginative script testifies to a deep knowledge of the vanities of the play, the demands of the director’s power, and the complex artistic process of creation that springs from the friction between the various demands and talents.

A razor-sharp satire – but free of caricatures

Based on this, Cohn and Duprat develop a razor-sharp satire without ever caricaturing the characters. The landscape of the deserted, ultra-modern convention center gives certain scenes a Kafkaesque quality.

Cameraman Arnau Valls Colomer shows a stylistically sure sense of the relationship between people and space. Above all, however, “The Best Film of All Time” impresses with the performance of the enchanting trio of actors who, with visible joy, aim at their own profession.

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Banderas can happily relate to his own experiences as a Hollywood star. Argentine film and theater star Martínez sums up the arrogance of the master mime. And the fabulous Penélope Cruz – her face surrounded by picturesque, red curls – happily takes on the role of the eccentric director who deliberately challenges masculine narcissism.

You wish Cruz would look you in the eye forever

You also own the captivating final image. “There are movies that end with the credits,” Lola announces from the start, before her face fills the screen in large format. “But there are movies, believe me, they might never end,” she adds immediately, staring directly into the audience’s eyes for a long time. Full 35 seconds.

And you never want her to stop.

“The Best Movie Ever”, Director: Mariano Cohn and Gastón Duprat, with Penélope Cruz, Antonio Banderas, Oscar Martínez, 114 minutes, FSK 12

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