Chilean director Marcelo Ferrari made his recent drama “Bombal” based on the love life of acclaimed feminist author María Luisa Bombal. I cannot verify how much of the film is based on real events, but what it does manage to recreate is the extreme state of depression she was in even while writing successful books at the time, most of which delve into eroticism from a feminine point of view. Her works were well received all over Latin America, but was frowned upon within some circles in native Chile. Most of the film is told through flash-backs from Bombal’s point of view.
The film is set sometime during the nineteen forties when María Luisa Bombal moved back to Chile with husband Jorge Larco. They have an open relationship – while he is gay, she is having an affair with a divorced Eulogio Sánchez. Hopelessly in love with Eulogio, Bombal descends into a state of depression when her feelings go in-reciprocated. After a failed suicide attempt, she goes as far as publicly shooting Eulogio who is now engaged to another woman. He survives, but at least it brings some kind of closure to that chapter in her history.
While the film has an interesting story to tell, the script/screenplay doesn’t do it enough justice. The characterisation, particularly of the male characters is uni-dimensional and could have been developed further, and it isn’t helped by the actors’ pedestrian performances either. Blanca Lewin however is the exception as she brings her professionalism to fore, more or less compensating for the other main characters. The sound track is fine, but the scope of the cinematography and editing seems to have been restricted perhaps due to budgetary constraints. It had the potential to be as powerful a drama as Bellocchio’s “Vincere“, but as it stands, remains just about an above average film. The bare-bones DVD is available through the below link.