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ArtsEventsReviews

A Somerville Film Experience: An Unexpected Love

(Variety, 2018)

The night we arrived at the Somerville Theatre, the weather was somewhat mild, until a bitterly cold breeze began blowing through the field. Freezing audience members gathered the rugs and blankets and urgently warmed their bodies with some of their finest liquor.

Fellow Colosoul writer Tiffany Ko and I were offered a couple of seats by two older women before I ventured off to the ye ol’ gymnasium at UWA. I sat to scroll through social media, vigorously searching through Facebook, until I accidentally knocked over the wine cup of the lady next to me, spilling it all over her once a fortnight ‘night out’ shoes. The wine also seeped into the bottom of her designer jeans. Or was it a dress? I tried to apologise but she replied with numerous ‘not to worries’ and ‘please try not to do it agains’.

Tiffany joined me just as the poor lady next to me confessed that her partner of 40 odd years had recently left her for another woman and the tension was reaching new heights. Before Tiffany reclaimed her rightful seat at Somerville, she noticed an unusual object on top of her seat. Curious to find out what this unidentified-non-flying-object was, she grasped the aluminium can and lifted it with a strong glare to identify what disrupted her seating arrangements. A frothy, beer-like substance tipped outside of the can, pouring all over the seat, just missing me and quite possibly wetting the owner of the can. Tiffany was apologetic about the incident and we both agreed it was best to relocate ourselves somewhere else in the outdoor theatre where we would not be deemed as flight risks.

We found new seats in a better location. The view was great and we were rather central, reducing that potential neck tension that occurs from having the neck in a strained position for too long. A live band performed some soft Jazz music on the stage to lighten the mood and the audience’s hearts. During this performance I had an awkward encounter.

Whilst talking to Tiffany, enjoying some laughs and minding my own business we were blessed with another two members of the audience, seating themselves to the left of us. I began to feel somewhat uneasy. It wasn’t the fact they had alcohol and I was worried I would continue to spill beverages. It wasn’t the fact that we appeared to be the youngest people in the film festival on the day. The reason I felt awkward is because as this middle-aged man grabbed his seat, he sat on my shoulder and slid down my arm and back before finding his cushion underneath his buttocks. During martial arts training I have learnt to make myself very subtle at times, so perhaps this is why he remained oblivious to the fact he was invading my personal space and disregarding that little thing humans call boundaries. Possibly it was the extra Brewski’s him and his wife had before arriving at their seats? The only other explanation that would make sense was that this man felt very uncomfortable about what had just happened, as did I, and we both agreed (silently) not to speak of it. An admirable agreement between men if you ask me!

After the musical demonstration ceased, a few guest speakers welcomed the audience, speaking of the achievements of the Perth Film Festival and paying their respects to the rightful Indigenous landowners.

Movie-ing on, the film started. I had ‘googled’ the movie title prior to attending the screening and was under the impression that we were going to be watching a similar but different movie about a middle-aged love affair where the woman in the relationship discovered that she was in fact a lesbian. Much to my surprise it turned out to be a movie that was filmed completely in Spanish with English subtitles, the latter being very handy as I “Hablo un poquito espanol”.

The 2018 An Unexpected Love explored the life of a family from Spanish descent, their son having just left the family home to attend a university in Europe. Shortly after, the wife became somewhat unsatisfied with her life and could not see a bright future with herself and her husband. One night they spoke of this and concluded, although they really cared for each other, it wasn’t enough, and they parted ways to explore all that life has to offer. What could have possibly caused this? Honestly, there was no imperative evidence. Not even they truly knew why they broke up and went on a promiscuous and blissful bender. But it happened.

Although it was not addressed in this movie, I do wonder what influence this couple’s social groups had on their decision to part ways. The man’s best friend was cheating on his wife for a considerable amount of years. Probably not the greatest influence! The cheating friend was later caught, seen having the time of his life on a flying fox with his mistress via Instagram. When his wife saw that photo and the smiling happiness on his face, she just knew. In response to the dramatic fight that followed, our main couple joked that “we definitely handled our situation better” and laughed in agreeance. I am curious if by the end of the movie they would have still felt that way.

Most couples face some issues during their time together, true? I mean, no relationship is perfect. There are always ups and downs that come into play, misunderstandings, and sometimes our expectations just get the better of us. Both relationships were in shackles by the end of the film. However, the couple that split on good intentions decided that although they had no love left for each other, were destined to be together. If they were to have handled their situation better, I feel that they would have left their relationship and kept the values they once possessed or rekindled their love for each other.

I did not find this movie to be very relatable. Why? Because I am just shy of 27 years old! I have not been married, therefore I could not possibly fathom such a scenario nor how I would react in such a situation. Would I work to re-adhere the relationship that up until recently was relatively perfect? After all, everything was great for 25 years! Or would I dismiss the past and break away from the relationship just as they did? I do not think this is an answer that can be predetermined. Even if I said what I considered to be the eternal truth, I don’t think one would truly know unless they found themselves in that situation. What I could say is I would try to be objective and hope if I was with someone for such a significant amount of time, then we would be able to salvage the relationship and allow it to bloom and blossom as it had in previous times.

Personally, I felt that the target audience for this film was around the age of 40 years and older. It was hard for a writer like myself to relate, and I can only try to empathise based on previous relationships that I have had or from stories I have heard from others. The fact that this film was all spoken in Spanish, made the film even harder for me to personally engage with it. I had to be constantly looking back and forwards from the subtitles and the feature film itself, creating gaps in the movie. There were quite a few chuckles among the audience, so I do feel that older members of the public and those that are fluent speakers of the Spanish language would be much more satisfied with this film.

It was a nice night and a beautiful venue, an open environment filled with huge trees, with stars shimmering rapidly as we gazed upon the movie. I had a great time, so all things considered I would give this film 3.5 stars out of 5. That said, if it was in a typical cinema and I did not have the company, the humorous events that occurred and the enjoyable night, I believe I would award 2 stars out of 5 based upon the movie itself.

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