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CINEMA JOVE 2021

Review: Lucas

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- With this feature, the plot of which began in his previous short of the same name, Álex Montoya ventures even further than before, taking bold risks that ratchet up the complexity and tension

Review: Lucas
Jorge Motos in Lucas

In 2014, a short film starring Luis Callejo, directed by Álex Montoya, ended up as a finalist for the Goya Awards after having garnered prizes at festivals of the likes of Málaga and Cinema Jove in Valencia. At the latter event, there has now been a special screening (just a few days prior to its release in Spanish theatres, slated for Friday 25 June) of the feature of the same name, Lucas [+see also:
trailer
interview: Álex Montoya
film profile
]
, helmed by the very same director. At the most recent edition of the former festival, the full-length movie picked up the well-deserved Silver Biznaga for Best Spanish Film in the Zonazine section, the Audience Award and Best Actor, for its lead, young thesp Jorge Motos (who previously appeared in Esteban Crespo’s Amar [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Esteban Crespo
film profile
]
). While in the original short film, we were introduced to an array of characters who were placed in a number of fairly unsettling situations, with this feature, the director has gone so much further, resulting in something that is both surprising and daring in equal measure.

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That’s because one of the protagonists, Álvaro (played by Jorge Cabrera, an actor who appeared in Daniel Sánchez Arévalo’s Seventeen [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Daniel Sánchez Arévalo
film profile
]
), is an older man who decides to approach a young lad, as he wants to take some photos of him and propose a questionable plan to him. At that moment, for the – initially hesitant – kid, a murky passageway opens up, leading to a microcosm of fake identities, shortcomings, yearning, suspicion and a fair amount of pain, with various twists in the storyline that always keep the levels of tension and surprise ratcheted up to the max.

Lucas is therefore not a comfortable watch, nor an easy one at that. Because the physical and psychological wounds of its characters may prove recognisable to us, and as happens to the title character, we may end up having doubts about exactly what we feel as we observe incidents that are sometimes ambiguous, but are sometimes consistent with the main characters’ pasts… This will all be revealed by the events contained within the movie, the final twists and turns of which unfold in the simultaneously photogenic and untamed Albufera in Valencia, a gigantic area of marshland that, in this case, becomes a powerful mirror and an angst-inducing setting at the same time.

In addition, as occurred in the magnificent French ensemble thriller Only the Animals [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Dominik Moll
film profile
]
by Dominik Moll, Lucas addresses how the internet can be an incredibly powerful tool for masking one’s identity and thus being able to abuse others. But this is not the only subject broached in the second feature by the man behind Asamblea [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
: the yearning for one’s youth and for the purity of one’s first love, the absence of one’s father, the feeling of guilt, the need to cut ties with the past, and growing pains are also ideas experimented with here by the screenwriters of the film, Sergio Barrejón (who made his directorial debut with Jefe [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
) and Montoya himself.

Lucas is a production by Raw Pictures and Telespan, which secured the collaboration of the Valencian Institute of Culture, and boasted the involvement of RTVE and À Punt TV. Its distribution and international sales are overseen by Begin Again Films.

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(Translated from Spanish)

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