"To Begin Again," precisely what director Jose Luis Garci better do, is the sort of love story that makes one want to focus on the problems with romance.
The only remarkable achievement of the film is that it actually won an Academy Award, for best foreign language picture.
No doubt it stirred the hearts of Academy members to see that, back in 1936, in the town of Gijon, Spain, one half of the non-dynamic romantic duo in this film referred to himself as "Antonio Fred Astaire." He scrawled this on the sleeve of a 78 rpm recording of "Begin the Beguine," which plays at least a dozen times in the film's 90 minutes, fortunately obliterating the dialogue a few times.
The other major piece of music in the film is the Pachelbel Canon, which drips over the opening shot of a train pulling into a station, and continues as the protagonist walks along a beach, watches children playing in the sand and gazes at boats beached at low tide.
Yes, this is a metaphorical movie, perhaps no more strongly than when the duo hug each other. They hug and they hug and they hug. And that's it--sort of like an ad for all of Leo Buscaglia's books.
Can a romance begun during the Spanish Civil War--wrenching apart two lovers, one of whom moves to San Francisco and becomes a Nobel prize-winning professor of literature at Berkeley, the other remaining behind, and later opening an art gallery--be rekindled in 1981?
In a word, no. TO BEGIN AGAIN
Directed and produced by Jose Luis Garci; screenplay by Jose Luis Garci and Angel Llorente; director of photography, Manuel Rojas; music by Johann Pachelbel and Cole Porter; production designer, Gil Parrondo; executive producers, Estaban Alenda and Angel Llorente. A 20th Century-Fox International Classics Release. This film is rated PG and runs 93 minutes. THE CAST Albajara....Antonio Ferrandis Elena....Encarna Paso Roxiu....Jose Bodalo Gervasio Losada....Agustin Gonzalez