The August Virgin is directed by Jonás Trueba and stars Itsaso Arana, Vito Sanz, Isabelle Stoffel, Joe Manjón, María Herrador, Luis Alberto Heras et al. It was co-written by both the director and star of the film. It has won several awards - winner of FIPRESCI Prize, Special Jury Mention, Karlovy Vary International Film Festival 2019, winner Best Actress, Best Screenplay, Toulouse Cinespaña 2019 and was nominated Best Foreign Film, César Awards 2021 and Special Award, Feroz Awards 2020. Just over 2 hours long, it's a moment in the life of a thirty-something year old woman who is reassessing her whole existence. This film recently screened at the Spanish Film Festival 2021.
Newly unemployed and single, Madrid's famously hot August weather sets the scene for Eva. Determined to change her life for the better, Eva decides to spend her summer in a short-term apartment so she can experience her hometown anew. We follow Eva on an intimate journey as she wanders through the streets by day and night, absorbing all that is around her and seeing the city she loves through new eyes. She meets people from her past and makes new friends as she travels the road of self-discovery, giving you a small glimpse of her life now and again that has led her to this moment.
This is a character-driven film and takes its time taking you on Eva's journey. You are there for every moment, every breath she takes and every thought she thinks. To sit through this film, you'll have to be prepared for the long haul, park everything that's in your head outside and dial right down, ready to completely engage and step into the character's personality with curiosity and understanding. Otherwise, it would be like watching paint dry - slowly and for a lengthy period of time. You may think that's just over two hours of your life you're never going to get back. The film needs you to just feel, observe, and breathe, or you could be struggling with boredom, as very little happens from beginning to end.
There's a reason it has won many awards. The performance by its star is flawless. Arana manages to put across a wide-eyed innocence that befits the character on a journey of observation and discovery. If you're in the right mood to watch the film, you'll find each slow moment in time, engaging. This seemingly casual film simply creates a space to reflect and reevaluate. However, if you're not in the mood, it will have nothing to say to you.