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The distinguished European Film Festival begins on Monday September 25, opening with the Spanish film Ramona, directed by Andrea Bagney, a laureate of the Best Screenplay Award at the 2022 Rome Film Fest. The movie features Lourdes Hernández, Bruno Lastra and Francesco Carril. The Delegation of the European Union to Lebanon, along with the Metropolis Cinema Association and in alignment with the European Union Member States, has recently proclaimed the forthcoming 28th edition of the European Film Festival that will run from September 25 to October 4 in several regions across Lebanon.

Ramona depicts the journey of a woman who, along with her companion Nico, has newly relocated to Madrid and seeks a new beginning; she aspires to be an actress and experience motherhood. On the eve of her first audition, she meets Bruno, an older man, with whom she establishes a profound and immediate connection. Overwhelmed by her emotions, Ramona flees, only to later discover that Bruno is the very director she was scheduled to meet. The opportunity is overwhelming, and encouraged by Nico, Ramona decides to seize it…

When asked in an interview about her preference for black and white cinematography, director Andrea Bagney explained, “When Ramona first crystallized in my imagination, she emerged like a Billy Wilder character… Comedy was a significant part of her character, and my seminal references were black and white: The Apartment, Manhattan… I tried to pay tribute to the films I admire and to intensify Ramona’s worth. She was conceived not as diminutive and independent but as monumental and classical…”

During her audition in the movie, Ramona acts out dialogues from Woody Allen’s Annie Hall and Richard Linklater’s Before Sunset with Julie Delpy. Ramona serves as a metaphorical mirror reflecting the gap between existence and the void, a cinematic exploration of life. It portrays a woman who embodies life in her very essence and reveals it through the director’s lens. Ramona is a woman whose trajectory is molded by the fluctuations of existence. Would she ever be able to delineate her path? When fate intervenes, the quintessential dilemma lingers: to chase one’s dreams on the edge of being or to navigate one’s life within the shelter of conformity.

What is the thin line between acting and living? What manifests as truth in the limelight, facing the camera, and what is shrouded in illusion beneath? What are the limits between one’s authentic self and the roles acted out daily? Where is the boundary between one’s self and abandonment when vulnerabilities are exposed? Does a utopian “best of” realm exist, and is life cinematically similar? All these questions run through the film, oscillating between the monochromatic quotidian and the vibrant color spectrum of auditions, while Ramona perpetually gravitates between different roles. Life is nothing but a cinematic sequence at the Plaza de España, where choices are ephemeral, as they consist of mere interludes before the recurring course of trains. To what melodies does one then dance? Endless endings and blurry beginnings; this is the essence of Ramona: a film about life, a contemplation on the convergence of altered realities.

Marie-Christine Tayah

Instagram : @mariechristine.tayah

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