Chilean film "Gloria" cheered at Berlin festival

Sun Feb 10, 2013 7:50am EST
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By Mike Collett-White

BERLIN (Reuters) - There were cheers for Chilean drama "Gloria" at the Berlin film festival on Sunday, partly out of relief as the annual cinema showcase finally got its first hit after a series of critical misses.

The touching story of a middle aged woman's quest for love and adventure in modern-day Santiago drew comparisons to Woody Allen for the intimacy of the relationships and to Meryl Streep for the arresting performance of actress Paulina Garcia.

Garcia plays Gloria, a bespectacled 58-year-old divorcee whose children have left home and who goes out to singles night discos, where she dances and flirts and refuses to retreat quietly into the old age.

There she meets Rodolfo, a charming but complex former naval officer in his 60s, who sweeps her off her feet in a whirlwind romance that Gloria believes may turn into something permanent.

As they try to forge a lasting bond, their past lives constantly intrude, in what critics saw as a metaphor for Chile as it emerges from the dictatorship under Augusto Pinochet.

Director Sebastian Lelio's inspiration was his mother and her generation, which is rarely tackled in an industry obsessed with youth.

"I would say that we are all facing what Gloria is facing, but it just happens to some people sooner than others," he told reporters in Berlin, where Gloria is one of 19 movies in the main competition lineup and the most popular so far.

"We all face crossroads in our lives where we can retreat into ourselves or we can hit the dancefloor."   Continued...

Director Sebastian Lelio (R-L), actress Paulina Garcia and actor Sergio Hernandez pose during a photocall to promote the movie "Gloria" at the 63rd Berlinale International Film Festival in Berlin February 10, 2013. REUTERS/Tobias Schwarz