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"Your actions are guided by passion and not by reason," counsels a priest when a man desperate to get married holds a busload of passengers hostage. It's a mantra that resonates through all three stories braided together by director Carlitos Ruiz Ruiz and co-director Mariem Perez in this melancholy comedy about the ironies of love. In one, 70-year-old Flora (Silvia Brito) becomes the object of competing affections when the man who abandoned her long ago comes to stay in the house she shares with her ex-husband (Chavito Marrero). Fueled by alcohol and adolescent-like libido, the situation quickly becomes complicated by the past and the fears of a limited future. In another, a family funeral serves as the setting for loss, first love and accidental revelations of unfaithfulness as Lourdes (Theresa Hernández) discovers her husband (Luis Guzmán) has been having an affair-with her own cousin Tati (Ednali Figueroa). When Lourdes speeds off to confront Tati, her husband is left to contemplate the judgment of his young son, Ismaelito (Fernando Tarazzo). And in the third tale, Miguel (Luis Gonzaga), aboard a bus, must contend with the media, his mother and his own obsessive nature as he presents the woman of his dreams with a desperate proposal. This charming debut, executive produced by Benicio del Toro, shows Ruiz's colorful characters as they stumble into each other's lives in the backyards of Puerto Rico, all driven by a selfish search for love, but connected to one another through the past, and through hope for the future. Ruiz and Jorge Gonzales's script playfully connects all the stories with the help of an engaging, lively cast.
Director's Statement Collapse
This is a trip through some of the more disenchanting aspects of love, with deteriorated characters, absurdist situations, framed in an environment of dark humor and cynicism. It is a slice of our Latin idiosyncrasies which also shows how intense and intensely flawed love can be. This feature is made of various stories that illustrate in chronological order the stages a person goes through in the constant evolution of their ability to love. These are the discovery and disillusion of youth, the search for the object of desire in adulthood and the confusion between fear of loneliness and compassion in old age. Puerto Rico is a small island in the Caribbean that, because of its small size, constantly emanates a feeling of confinement and claustrophobia -- a concrete paradise that dreams of being a big city. This gives us the perfect setting to explore throughout the film the traumas and foibles of our collective madness. This is the environment in which Maldeamores takes place, each story a small island. For five years our group has dedicated itself to advertising / commercial cinema and, as young people, we are characterized with having an aggressive, hip style -- a bit dirtier and more deteriorated than is the norm in conventional advertising. This modern style and irreverent point of view is the one I am going for in the realization of Maldeamores.
Film Information Collapse
[LOVES] | 2007 | 83 | Narrative Feature
Foreign Title: (Maldeamores)
Country: Puerto Rico
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About the Director(s)Collapse
Born in Puerto Rico, CARLITOS RUIZ RUIZ studied photography at the University of Puerto Rico, then received a scholarship to continue his studies at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where he earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Film Direction. He won a special award from the judges at the San Juan Cinemafest, Best Short Film at the Hamptons Film Festival, Best Short Film in the School of the Art Institute Fellowship, and the Weisner Award for Distribution for his thesis short film, Pelota de Papel. Ruiz Ruiz is a director for commercials, having made international campaigns for Mazda, Verizon, Subway, Blockbuster, Pepsi, Cingular Wireless, and Coors Light, among others. He won the 2004 Silver Award at El Ojo de Iberoamérica advertising festival. Lovesickness (Maldeamores), is his first feature film.