La Enfermedad del Domingo (Sunday’s Illness)
A tour de force. The spectacular, understated film La enfermedad del domingo (Sunday’s Illness) rests on the powerful and gifted shoulders of actors Susi Sánchez – as uptight wealthy mother Anabel who left her daughter 35 years prior – and Bárbara Lennie – who vividly brings to life the pain that a woman carries after having her mother leave for a better life. Ramón Salazar’s direction and casting choices, with the help of Ana Sainz-Trápaga and Patricia Álvarez de Miranda, are exceptional. Even though he originally had an older actress in mind for Chiara he clearly knew what he saw when Lennie came in to read for the part. The framing and slow zooms on characters, on trees in the forest are deliberate and haunting.
The original score by composer Nico Casal is slight yet affecting. It is never overbearing and often lingers just long enough and at just the right speed. Clara Bilbao’s costume design perfectly captures the pristine and sophisticated presence of Anabel during the first part of the film. Her outfits are exquisite and unique, recalling an elegance somewhat reminiscent of the Golden Age of Hollywood. Meanwhile, Chiara is wearing very casual clothing, often purposely being dishevelled or dirty in order to mess with her newly reunited mother’s state of mind. The evolution of Anabel’s wardrobe speaks volumes about her character’s emotional development.
DP Ricardo de Gracia’s lighting and framing add dimensions to the scenes with Sánchez and Lennie, firstly at Anabel’s immaculate mansion and later in the quaint village in the French mountains.Teresa Font’s slow-moving cuts never seem rushed or unnecessary. She clearly had a deep understanding of Salazar’s vision and how he envisioned his two leading ladies. One surprisingly violent scene is edited in such a way to cause a bit of a surprise scare. The slow build up of one character’s anger explodes into a sudden unhinged reaction. There are no words to sum up the ending. It’s devastating.
It’s a shame that the world premiere of Sunday’s Illness at Berlinale this year did not garner more attention. This film was, without a doubt, the highlight of the festival.
La Enfermedad del Domingo (Sunday’s Illness) does not have a UK release date yet.
Read more reviews from our Berlin Film Festival 2018 coverage here.
For further information about the event visit the Berlin Film Festival website here.