[ Metro | Metroactive Central | Archives ]

Love on the Rocks

Waves of Passion: The scenery is steamier than the discreet lesbian affair in Marta Balletbo-Coll's "Costa Brava."

Two women find love and angst on the coast of Spain

By Richard von Busack

Marta Balletbo-Coll plays the irascible, pleasingly plump heroine of Costa Brava. She also directed the Spanish import (it's in English). Her character, Anna, is a dithering, low-sexed lesbian monologist: "People don't label me as a lesbian; when they hear I was in love with a woman for five years and only slept with her twice, they label me as nuts." The Barcelona artist is busily hunting a government grant for her performance piece, "Love Thy Neighbor" (about a neglected housewife who has an affair with the woman next door). Still carrying the torch for her "diva," a successful actress named Marta (played by Montserrat Gausachs) whose poster is everywhere, Anna stumbles across a cute Israeli seismologist named Montserrat (played by Desi del Valle).

Pizzicato violins pluck as the two go on a trip to the Costa Brava, a Big Sur-like region on the northwest coast of Spain, centered around Girona. The area is famous for its ancient Jewish quarter and for the presence of what is supposedly the most grossly oversized cathedral in Europe (although we don't see it on screen). The relationship begins on the rocks near the ocean where the two kiss--this event is also off camera, as are all expressions of the physical side of the affair (none of that "male gaze" stuff here). The relationship is loving but troubled. Montserrat knows she loves a woman but isn't sure she wants to be a lesbian. Anna is having a horrible time trying to find funding for her play. Fortunately, just as the troubles seem insurmountable, help arrives from San Francisco. The end.

As the makers of Go Fish did before her, director Balletbo-Coll comes up against the patriarchal tyranny of the rule that a feature-length movie must be at least 90 minutes long. Costa Brava is Jaglomesque in the insights and the good humor, and in the fact that--as in Henry Jaglom's films--it starts to wear out its welcome after the first hour. The wispiness of the subject can't always be redeemed by Balletbo-Coll's charm. Still, Costa Brava's unruffled quality and the handsome scenery of Barcelona recommend it. (Significantly, Anna's job in the film is as a tour guide.) The fights are witty, and here's the best exchange: Montserrat crabs, "You're just like a man. Just because you don't have a penis doesn't keep you from acting like one." Anna rejoins, "That's just what a man would say."

Costa Brava (Unrated; 92 min.), written and directed by Marta Balletbo-Coll and starring Balletbo-Coll and Montserrat Gausachs.

[ Metro | Metroactive Central | Archives ]

From the April 25-May 1, 1996 issue of Metro

This page was designed and created by the Boulevards team.
Copyright © 1996 Metro Publishing and Virtual Valley, Inc.

Foreclosures - Real Estate Investing
San Jose.com Real Estate