Synopsis by Nathan Southern
Helmer Santiago Tabernero's coming-of-ager Life in Color (AKA Vida y Color, 2005) paints an enduring, vivid portrait of life in a Spanish village in the late summer of 1975 - at a juncture when color televisions were on the verge of appearing in middle-class homes, and the lives of citizenry on the verge of dramatically improving thanks to the impending death of fascist Francisco Franco. Tabernero filters his tender, nostalgic story through the eyes of a thirteen-year-old boy, Fede (Junio Valverde), who lives in the hamlet of Las Islas with his sister Bego (Silvia Abascal), his mother Sole (Ana Wagener), his father Angel (Adolfo Fernandez) and his grandfather (portrayed by Joan Dalmau) - a man who saves a bottle of champagne to gear up for the ensuing celebration of Franco's death. The sweet-natured Fede must contend with almost constant bullying by the punk Benito, and spends the majority of his extracurricular time with two friends: the quiet, introverted Sara (Nadia de Santiago) and her Down's-afflicted sister, Ramona (Natalia Abascal) - both victims of a mentally unstable, issue-ridden father. Tabernero sets about interweaving several stories of life in the village - the most intense of which involves the mysterious disappearance of a young girl from Las Islas. As lensed by ace cinematographer Jose Luis Alcane, the picture expressionistically projects the aesthetic overtones (bright, intense colors) of Fede's imagination onto the film's settings.