Austin Film Festival 2014
By Don Simpson | October 27, 2014
Director: Chema Rodríguez
Writer: Chema Rodríguez
Starring: Clara Voda, Ken Appledorn, Juan Diego, Javier Pereira, Linda Molin, Vanessa Castro
Ricardo (Juan Diego) is a grumpy curmudgeon who gleefully wallows in the muck of his own unabashed misanthropy. Suffering from a degenerative disease that has bound him to a wheelchair for the last ten years, Ricardo’s negative attitude is by no means unfounded. Other than his live-in Romanian caregiver, Dana (Clara Voda), Ricardo’s existence is a solitary and depressing one. With no reason to continue living in his opiate-numbed state of being, the Spaniard has made arrangements to travel to India for a last hurrah of sorts. Though Dana has no intentions of leaving Ricardo’s side, he is highly motivated to make sure that she does not follow him to India. Fate, however, opts not to abide by Richard’s wishes, binding Dana with him until the bitter end.
Bitter and jaded characters such as Ricardo do not usually make for enjoyable cinematic experiences. Nightfall in India can be emotionally grating at times, but a poetically profound undercurrent runs concurrent with Richard’s negativity and anger. Writer-director Chema Rodríguez beautifully examines the role that time plays in human existence. Just as the road trip across Eurasia is linear in direction, life also exists in a straight line; and no matter what hurdles he encounters along the journey, Ricardo’s momentum never ceases, just as time is also unstoppable. There is a beginning, middle and end to this narrative, just as there is in any human life. The question remains whether or not we can dictate when and how the ending occurs? He may say a lot of mean things along the way, but Ricardo’s determination is truly commendable; as Rodríguez slowly reveals that this grinch might actually have a heart, it is made nearly impossible not to cheer Ricardo on as he nears his end goal.