Ana de Dia (Ana by Day) Spain
Writer & Director: Andrea Jaurrieta
Producer: Iván Luis
Starring Ingrid Garcia-Jonsson
Imagine a friend asks you,” What if you called your home one day and your own voice answered?” Filmmaker Andrea Jaurrieta turned that intriguing question into a screenplay in 2010. Eight years later, she and producing partner Iván Luis have answered the question. In her own life-imitates-art scenario, Jaurrieta has also crafted a double identity: by day a film historian (safe and respectable); by night a film history-maker (clearly more punk!).
Ana by Day begins with a close-up interrogation of Ana, played by Ingrid Garcia-Jonsson. The camera appears transfixed by Garcia-Jonsson’s crystalline blue eyes. As an unseen male acquires Ana’s personal details, we perceive in the refracted emotions of her eyes that there is more going on inside Ana’s mind than her interrogator will ever discover. Or perhaps, there is more agitating Ana’s soul than she can articulate.
We begin to wonder, “Who is this woman? What is she hiding?”
The filmmaker quickly establishes Ana as a modern cosmopolitan woman. She appears to be on the verge of desirable transformations: From law student to lawyer. From fiancée to wife. From aspirational to established.
But is the life Ana is leaning into the life she wants to lead? Is this, in fact, Ana’s life?
Ana’s misgivings about her identity intensify when she calls home to wish her mother a happy birthday. She hears her own voice on the line asking,” Who is this?” A few days later, Ana sees herself enter her apartment building. Struggling to comprehend the meaning of this apparition, she waits until Ana-the-other leaves, and then ransacks her own apartment for evidence of her sanity.
Ana confirms her memory of self by sifting the artefacts of her past. She recalls precisely where she placed each bit of memorabilia. Her clothes. Her books. Her photos. Yet, the existential questions remain unanswered: If I am Ana, who is she? If she is Ana, who am I?
The structure of the film is cyclical. The leitmotif of interrogation provides the narrative engine for the story. The need to answer the questions, “Who are you?” and ” Who am I?” propels the drama in each scene as Ana descends into a memorialized world where decadence serves as the doppelganger for freedom.
As the story progresses, Ana discovers that she cannot abscond her identity as easily as she had imagined. Abandoning one’s life to a stand-in attracts complexity. Perhaps there is no escape. Or perhaps one must inevitably face “the other” inside. Or perhaps multiple selves co-exist, unaware of each other until chance makes them collide.
In addition to Ingrid Garcia-Jonsson sparkling performance, I am haunted by two aspects of the cinematography in this feminist tale. The first is filmmaker Jaurrieta’s persistent, perhaps obsessional, focus on the irises of her character’s eyes. Jaurrieta convinces us that even if looks cannot kill, they can puncture, unnerve and unmask. The technical competence of the photography manifests itself without flinching.
Second, the cinematography suggests an environment of soft violence, warmly inviting yet dangerous. You want to step into these creamy scenes, yet the chrominance warns you: Beware!
Ana by Day is a beautiful movie. Ingrid Garcia-Jonsson is sparkling spirit. And professor Jaurrieta may soon have to give up her day job.