‘Petitet’: Film Review

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A bigger-than-life Barcelona gypsy struggles to make his mom’s musical dream come true on this documentary from Carles Bosch.

“When a gypsy says he’ll do one thing, then he’ll do it,” guarantees Joan Ximenez, aka Petitet, initially of this warm-hearted, feel-good celebration of 1 man’s try and carry the rhythms of gypsy rumba to one of many world’s nice opera homes. This report of Petitet’s struggles to make the dream occur whereas affected by sickness is a little bit stagey, a little bit sentimental and a little bit too lengthy, however these are minor complaints a couple of mission that succeeds in placing an enormous, barely teary smile on the face of even essentially the most jaundiced viewer.

The deathbed promise made was to Petitet’s mom, and there are certainly a few visits to the cemetery in her honor — however the story would have labored virtually as properly with out it. Early scenes provide a little bit historic context about Catalan rumba and the actual avenue within the metropolis’s Raval neighborhood, quite a bit much less full of life now than it as soon as was, the place Petitet and his household grew up — his father sang with Peret, the best of the Catalan rumba singers.

Petitet’s promise is mainly to carry Catalan rumba — a preferred, non-elitist kind — to Barcelona’s Liceu, a world-renowned opera home, and to complicate issues additional, he needs it to be with a full symphony orchestra. (Underlying this ambition is the will, not addressed instantly by the movie, for mainstream acceptance of an oppressed gypsy tradition, for a breaking-down of conventional class and cultural obstacles.) One thread of the movie performs out like a diluted model of Buena Vista Social Membership, with Petitet gathering assist from mates corresponding to saxophonist Raul Perez, a realistic, downbeat particular person whose rivalry with Petitet offers the movie a little bit of attention-grabbing friction afterward, and flamenco singer El Granaino.

Bosch retains swinging again to Petitet and others by way of speaking heads of a spread of interviewee members who providing a form of operating commentary on the growing story. Aside from that, we mainly path Petitet round his numerous conferences. Rehearsal footage is usually tense, since Petitet is a imply bongos participant however not a fully-fledged musician himself, and the duty of scoring these songs for orchestra is clearly past him. It’s fascinating to see how individuals who can’t learn music and who depend on intestine feeling are capable of talk with the professionals.

Because the determine on the coronary heart of each the mission and the movie, Petitet is a chunky, good-humored man in his 50s who wears black fits and sun shades and delivers typically memorable strains in a surprisingly excessive, breathy voice. That is the results of his myasthenia, a neuromuscular muscular illness that pops up at common intervals to threaten not solely the mission, but in addition Petitet himself, whom it leaves unable to breathe; at instances, he’s decreased to directing the musicians from behind an oxygen masks. “With my sickness,” he complains, “I shouldn’t be doing what I’m doing.” There are common visits to the hospital: “You might be very chubby,” his physician chides him. “I do know,” he replies. “It’s a thriller.” And there’s tenderness in addition to comedy: The life recommendation he provides to his nephew in hospital, utilizing a window blind as a prop, is touching and memorable.

There are unanswered questions on precisely how the impoverished Petitet is ready to set issues up financially — one suspects via sheer power of character — and a number of other points are glossed over, with the script preferring to concentrate on just a few chosen micro-stories relatively than provide exhaustive element. That mentioned, a go to to the city council to hunt permission to play on the Liceu might be, like a few different sequences, superfluous to dramatic necessities. However when finally it’s time to take our seats and benefit from the rhythms of the Raval Rumba Symphony Orchestra in dwell efficiency, all quibbles are immediately swept away.

Manufacturing firms: Lastor Media, Turkana Movies
Forged: Joan Ximenez, ‘Petitet’, Raul Perez, El Granaino
Director: Carles Bosch
Screenwriters: Carles Bosch, David Vidal
Producers: Tono Folguera, Sergi Moreno, Carles Bosch
Government producers: Sofia Amadori, Joan Antoni Barjau, Maria Rosa Fuste, Guillem Lira, Alejandra Mora, Alfonso Par, Leopoldo Samso
Director of images: Sofia Amadori
Editors: Carlos Prieto, Ernest Blasi
Composer: Josep Sanou
Gross sales: Lastor Media

107 minutes

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