Throw the Wizard of Oz in the blender with films by Pedro Almodóvar and you have Rainbow, the new film from Spanish actor and director Paco León. The Netflix film is also full of references to rock musicals like Pink Floyd: The Wall, magic-realistic fantasies, road trip sagas and surreal drama. It seems like a risky experiment for director/co-writer Paco León to give such a successful musical a new impulse. But he succeeds wonderfully in this film, which has been on Netflix and in Spanish cinemas since the end of September 2022. The glossy Spain magazine ESPANJE! wrote a review. The trailer can be seen at the bottom of this article.
The fact that the film is a joy to watch is partly due to the great acting of one of the old muses of Almodóvar, the now 77-year-old Spanish actress Carmen Maura. Carmen Machi, who we saw in the Netflix comedy ‘Amor de madre’ earlier in 2022, is also doing well. But it’s all about Dora, played masterfully by the very young 18-year-old actress and singer Dora Postigo.
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In the film, Dora celebrates her 16th birthday. She eats cake with her father, who raised her on his own as the storm rages around their house. When she asks about her mother and understands that she is still alive, she runs away from home with her dog Toto as the tornado seems to swallow everything. Fate brings Dora to Coco (Carmen Maura), an annoying woman whose husband runs a fashion empire, and her sister Maribel (Carmen Machi), who claims to be Dora’s maternal grandmother. The old man dies and a gun is fired, or maybe not in that order, because what is truth?
Coco immediately points to Dora as the killer in order not to go to jail and to secure the inheritance. It is of course a lie. But Dora runs away anyway. Along the way, she meets the foolish and gullible Muñeco (brilliantly played by Ayax Pedrosa) who works chained on a scrap yard. She frees him and they move on together. Then they meet José Luis (Luis Bermejo) who is about to commit suicide on the edge of a cliff. He also joins them. Together they meet Akin (Wekafore Jibril) at a wild party. After being attacked by his own brother for being gay, he too decides to join Dora and her friends on a magical road trip.
You can see The Wizard of Oz in everything. But what was that again? In 1900, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, a book by the American author Frank L. Baum, was published. The story became world famous when it was made into a movie in 1939. The Wizard of Oz, starring Judy Garland, was full of hits such as Over the Rainbow, which is also what the title of this Netflix film refers to. Baum’s book has been copied, imitated and parsed endlessly. The best-known version is probably The Wiz, with Diana Ross and Michael Jackson from 1978. Netflix’s revival of this is not very original, but the film itself is. There are many references to the earlier versions. We see the lion again and even Michael Jackson comes along on a cloud. Also the scarecrow without a brain and the tin man without a heart are easy to recognize.
Although Rainbow is not a musical, music does play a major role in the film, as you can see from this soundtrack. There are lots of musical interludes and freaky dance scenes. The moments of ecstasy offer Dora and her friends who are weighed down by the judgments of others a way out of the hard daily life. In the end, fate seems to favor Dora, but she may be too fond of the life she had with her new friends or choose another truth. A wonderful film for a long autumn or winter evening. And Dora just might be the next Carmen Maura. What a talent!
SPAIN! Travel and culture magazine is the Dutch-language glossy about Spain and the Spanish-speaking world that appears four times a year in the Netherlands and Belgium. SPAIN! is a high-quality journalism magazine with inspiring travel reports, beautiful interviews, fascinating columns, delicious recipes and hundreds of tips for lovers of Spain. Read more information on the website espanje.nl