Written by Nobuhiro Hosoki
This lively Spanish farce, called "Only Human", is an engaging cross-cultural study of a Leni, a Jewish TV presenter and her fiancee, Rafi, a Palestinian university professor. Infatuated, the two even lock themselves in an elevator they're riding so they can make out, just before Leni is to introduce him to her family for the first time. The quickie they have there make us realize that we are in for some crazy ride. The family is delighted to meet him as long as the couple don't drop their suicide bomb about his Palestinian background. It's a colorful family- one that provides fertile land for cinema-making. The primary color is Leni's neurotic mother Groria(Norma Aleandro), who pummels Rafi with a barrage of questions without finding an encounter point. Secondary colors are provided by Tamia(maria Botto) her nymphomaniac belly dancer of sister and Paula(Alba Molinero), her hyperactive daughter; David(Fernando Romallo), her orthodox younger brother; and lastly Dudu(max Berliner), her blind grandfather, war veteran.
Everyone jumps into the couple's life and makes it their own business to interfere. Each develops a comedic force of interaction that some feel is over the top. But unlike Hollywood films, it is authentic thanks to the conception of husband and wife filmmakers Dominic Hatari and Terese Pelegri. Everything shifted when Rafi accidentally drops a soccer-size ball of frozen soup onto a pedestrian seven stories below who turns out to be the future-in -law on his way home from work. Then all hell break loose. The family starts to reveal it's own character recipe- fractiously presented in their wackiness, which somehow displays a certain harmony to the group. Just as Jewish families live everywhere in the world, these are universal traits you pick up on an everyday basis, even among your friends. So if anyone has an issue with the film set in Spain, they are just as blind as grandfather Dudu(actually half-blind).
Well-made comedy always crosses borders. Didn't Billy Wilder (Jewish ancestry, lived in Poland. later moved to Hollywood) prove that? Still, the plot is stretched a little too far when father has a rendezvous a hooker and pimp. It could be comical quirk that provokes a chuckle, but an endearing one. Seen in a positive light, the film is packed with jokes and an array of characters that keep you entertained. In the end, the couple's discordant political views never interfere with their love. Well, after all, we are "only human".
Written (in Spanish, with English subtitles)
, and directed by Teresa De Pelegri and Dominic Harari
Director of photography, Danny Cohen
Edited by Fernando Pardo
Music by Charlie Mole
Art director: Soledad Sesena
Produced by Mariela Besuievsky, Gerardo Herrero
, and Javier López Blanco
Released by Magnolia Pictures.
Running time: 85 minutes.
Cast: Guillermo Toledo (Rafi)
Marián Aguilera (Leni)
María Botto (Tania)
Fernando Ramallo (David)
Norma Aleandro (Gloria)
Alba Molinero (Paula)
, and Max Berliner (Dudu).