—What would you say about the relationship that you and Tata have?
-The relationship we have is like… It’s that can not explain.
That brief initial dialogue of the trailer, with those suspensive points loaded with emotion, was hardly enough to understand that I was about to give Play to a movie that was going to make me cry a lot. Even so, I decided to move forward and embark fully on a path of emotions. Crying has a bad press, but sometimes it is necessary to give the space, connect with it and allow it. So, a point in favor of my film to tear up.
In itself, infinite time is usually wasted choosing what to watch, faced with more and more options and subscriptions to platforms full of content. However, that June afternoon, in the harsh Buenos Aires winter, I did not have many doubts. It’s been a long time since one to cry It did not beat a comedy to watch as a family, an eternal series of infinite chapters or some dystopian scenario that takes us out of reality for a while. Second and final point for 100 days with Tatathis documentary film that has just incorporated Netflix to your menu and that, next to the title, A caption with instructions should appear in parentheses: “See with tissues at hand”.
The male protagonist -and who carries the thread of the story- is the Spanish hottie Miguel Angel Munoza figure who in his country won the first Master Chef Celebritydanced and was sworn in The Dancer, and has a solid career in film and television since childhood. But the real star of the film is her, the daddy, louis stonera woman that at 97 he states that he still has a lot to do. With a life of suffering and much sacrifice, Luisa spent the first 40 years caring for her mother, which is why she had to drop out of school and relegate herself from her until the day she saw her leave. Y half his life was gone.
The plot looks simple but it’s huge: the actor’s relationship with his grandmother -who is actually his great-grandmother’s sister-, who raised him as a boy while his parents worked and with whom he forged a loving, complicit and indestructible bond. After so many years of dedication, now that Tata has spent nine decades of life and needs care and presence, it is up to Miguel Ángel to give back a part of all that love he received in his childhood. So, with his schedule full of work obligations and personal goals, he had to find the simplest way to make time to do it.
As it did? He united his two passions, acting and his grandmother -his Tata-, wrote the script for a movie and invited her to participate. It was all laughter and recording sessions until COVID-19 arriveddepartures were prohibited, filming was therefore suspended, and the actor moved to Luisa’s house to take care of her because the three women who were taking care of it could no longer do it. So, the initial idea was reconverted, and without such structured scripts, Miguel Ángel began to record what those 100 days of confinement were like in a small apartment and taking care of absolutely all the care tasks of an elderly person..
“One of the things that I have finished discovering from this time with her is how difficult it becomes to grow up,” the actor tells the camera as we see him bathe his grandmother, dress her, comb her hair, put creams on her, prepare her food, help her with exercises to stimulate memory and with kinesiology, so that he does not lose mobility during the weeks of confinement, which become more and more eternal. In addition, we see him face his own confinement and the internal struggle to be reporting without her grandmother -a fanatic radio listener- being scared by the global uncertainty and the science fiction images that narrated the news.
Automatically, each of those scenes They lead the viewer to think about their own pandemic, the personal one, that of our loved ones, those months of isolation that changed the way we feel, act and relate to each other.. The celebrations by video calls, the fear of losing each other, the farewells from a distance, and the duels without hugs. The permanent tear of thinking of ourselves alone.
But Luisa and Miguel are not alone: they have each other. And it is a pleasure to spy on something of that link that will transport each one to different places. Happy childhoods, safe havens and love ties, regardless of their proper name or title, and wherever they were formed. Perhaps at home or away from it, in a mother, a father, an aunt, a grandmother, a grandfather or a neighbor. It is practically impossible not to empathize with the leitmotif of this story, or at least, not wanting to go back to the nest for a little while, curl up into a ball and let yourself be hugged by that special person who at some point in life gave us shelterwith the full breadth of that word.
Then I close my eyes – and tears are overflowing at this point, I have to admit – and I go back in time. I see my grandfather Wilson running by my side one afternoon in March 1985 when he took the wheels off my brand new red bike. To the long games of dominoes and broom of 15. At your request to make me repeat the lines of the poems of Strong soul –Pedro Bonifacio Palacios-, so that they can be recited to whoever requires them: “If they prostrate you ten times, you get up / another ten, another hundred, another five hundred / your falls must not be so violent / nor, by law, must they be so many ”.
I see my grandmother kid, already in his last years of life, when he brought him the purchase of the supermarket. Or he painted her nails to lift her spirits and didn’t want me to go – he always found an excuse to make me stay a little longer. To his punctual calls, every day at seven in the evening, to tell me the gossip of the whole family but more to make sure that I had arrived home safely. Her blonde perm -which I still look forward to in the hair of every lady on the street-, the smell of hand cream, her soft skin that was already hurting in the final stretch and the days of false waiting for an improvement in the hospital.
But in both cases, consciously and fortunately, I was able to return something to them of everything they gave me, which is infinite. Because we also had. Like Miguel and his Tata. as insurance many of us did or will do with our special person, with that safe place to which we will always want to return, shaking hands until the end.
“For a few years, and although I know that it will inevitably happen, it torments me to think that she is going to die”, Miguel Ángel is sincere in a therapy session. And far from thinking of a reality show, his question opens up new questions for us. Will we ever be ready to see our loved ones die? Are we enjoying them enough or do we always find some excuse in our routine to relegate quality time? Are we truly aware -if we haven’t had a great loss yet- of how we miss each of those hugs that we can no longer recover?
The last reflection of the film ends up being as simple as it is unfathomable: “The happiest time was just being together”. And what a fortune that they can still share it.