17 Años Juntos Short Film Review
Jessica Kladerman – Editor-in-Chief
The short film, 17 Años Juntos was directed by Javier Fesser, produced by Películas Pendelton and released on June 27th, 2016, in Spain. The film starts off with a woman, Mardelina, in uniform making breakfast finding “easter eggs”, or hidden gifts around the kitchen from her thoughtful husband, Walter, for her birthday. It was their day off and they made exciting birthday plans for Madelina. As the film continues the audience is introduced to the wealthy couple that the two characters work for.
The couple is having a very important dinner and tell Mardelina and Walter they cannot have the night off, leaving the two workers quite upset. We see the wife, Asun, who makes a lot of demands that tend to overlap each other, not giving Mardelina enough time to finish a task before being asked to complete another.
On the other hand, we see Pepe, Asun’s husband, giving Walter empty promises about a guest who has influence in immigration. Mardelina and Walter have been working very hard to make their son Wilson a citizen, so Walter was elated to have an opportunity to speak with this guest, making his frustration with having to work that night worthwhile. Later in the day, Pepe explains to Walter he would not be able to speak with this guest and Asun embellishes that it would not be appropriate.
After an exhausting afternoon of hard work, Mardelina answers the door in her employer’s dress, which she was to tend to, to find her son and mother, fondly referred to as Abuela, at the door to her surprise. Pepe and Asun walk into the room dressed as a maid and butler and inform Mardelina they will be at their service the rest of the night, which Abuela takes full advantage of.
This film was very well written; it was easy to form an emotional connection to Mardelina and Walter. I quickly grew frustrated with Asun’s demanding nature and Pepe’s empty promises, which I’m sure was writers Javier Fesser and Claro García’s intentions. I appreciated the quick character growth throughout the 15 minutes that the film lasted. The film ended on a very endearing note with the reunion of the parents and their son, and the reunion of Abuela and her daughter. Seeing the smile on Mardelina’s face could have been the best gift Walter could have asked for and being able to spend time with their son is a gift that would render any physical object obsolete.
One question that still sits in my mind is, “Will Pepe still connect Walter with someone in immigration?” That’s a very serious matter and I thought the writers could have done a better job at giving the audience closure on that forefront. Something as quick as a cut scene during the credits with Pepe introducing Walter to this dinner guest he mentions in an office setting could have worked great, though I’m sure it would have impacted the budget.
On that note, the cinematography and musical arrangements were incredible for a short film with such a small cast and crew, totaling less then 25 people from actors to editors, not including hair, makeup and wardrobe or the camera/on-set crew. There were no shaky cameras, the lighting and songs were timed appropriately to reflect the emotion of the scene at hand. A year after its release the short film was nominated for the Fugaz Award for Spanish short film. 17 Años Juntos left me wanting 18 Años Juntos and more.