Screen Time: 75%
Age: 11 years old
Directed: Javier Fesser
Genre: Biography, Coming of Age, Drama
Based on a true story, Camino is an emotional adventure set around a dazzling 11-year-old girl simultaneously faced with two completely new events in her life: falling in love and dying. Above all, Camino is a bright light capable of shining through every one of the dark doors that try to stifle her desire to live, love and find happiness once and for all.
Controversial, a masterpiece nevertheless
To her mother's dismay, Camino wants to join a theater group with her friends Elena (Miriam Raya) and Jesus (Lucas Manzano). Camino has a crush on Jesus, and, as her physical condition declines, she sustains herself by thinking about him. When she uses his name in adoring terms, her words are assumed to be religious.
Visually, the pic's styles match its moods. Interiors are often hand-held lensed, pulling auds into the action and suggesting the domestic and medical horrors being inflicted on Camino are brutally real. The inclusion of graphic surgery shots, however, may disturb some viewers.
Symbol-rich fantasy sequences, where the pic comes closest to Fesser's previous films, are projections of Camino's mind while she is in the hospital and involve a terrifying guardian angel and a top-hatted man called Mr. Meebles (Emilio Gavira). The script's understanding of pre-adolescent psychology is entirely convincing.
Perfs are superb across the board, with Elias in particular resisting the temptation to lapse into mere caricature and creating a wonderfully complex character as a result. The radiant-eyed, debutante Camacho has a joyous screen presence, suffusing her role with a transcendent saintliness that makes the priests eager to canonize her.
Editing is tops, particularly through the extended sequence of the final reel, which successfully negotiates the dramatic tightrope between intense hospital scenes and broad comedy. Dramatic music, often lushly orchestrated strings, is often deliberately over-the-top. Pic's title is a ref to a book by Opus Dei's founder.