The Sea Inside
Autumn 2005 Main series
Sunday, October 2, 2005 at 4:00pm
Sunday, October 2, 2005 at 7:00pm
Monday, October 3, 2005 at 7:00pm
Monday, October 3, 2005 at 9:30pm
Rated PG ·
Winner of the 2005 Academy Award for Best Foreign Film as well as the Grand Special Jury Prize and Best Actor at the 2004 Venice International Film Festival, The Sea Inside is a powerful and beautiful depiction of the struggle of Ramón Sampedro (Javier Bardem, Collateral, Before Night Falls), who, after being left paralyzed from the neck down, sought the right to die with dignity.
Euthanasia is a dangerously emotional subject, but director Alejandro Amenábar (Abre Los Oyos, The Others) manages the task with great delicacy by focusing on the story of one man’s desire to end his own life. Through this plight, Amenábar is able to explore basic human needs and emotions, as well as our fundamental questions about what constitutes living. Sampedro has accepted his accident, but calmly acknowledges that he no longer wants to endure an existence in which he is barely a participant. For him, neither love nor life can be merely mental activities. We cringe with pain as we see him suffer under his unsatisfied desires – to touch the woman he loves and to walk by her side. He pacifies this longing in several incredibly photographed scenes – in one of the film’s most poignant scenes, he imagines himself flying out his bedroom window, soaring high above the Galician landscape – but reality always returns.
Though this is intrinsically a film about death, it truly dazzles in its celebration of life and the affirmation of human will, powerfully rendered by Bardem’s devastatingly moving performance. We have the power to create heaven on earth if we want, although we have the same power to create hell. The Sea Inside is Amenábar’s first masterpiece. His ability to make such profound statements through a simple story will resonate for years.