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The Blue Diner (2000)

Last night we watched _The Blue Diner_. We originally thought this independent film might be another addition to our Food Movie Collection, but as it turned out, food has a pretty peripheral role in the plot. This bilingual film stars Lisa Vidal as Elena, a young woman who suffers a small stroke that gives her temporary aphasia, or loss of function in the language center of her brain. She "forgets" how to speak and understand Spanish, although her knowledge of English is unchanged. From the back of the DVD case you'd expect this plot line to be more dominant, but in fact it is really only about a third of the plot. It is plaited together with an older guy trying to keep his diner business afloat; whether or not Elena's father, the famous singer "El Canario" is still alive; and the mysterious appearance of a painting by Elena's ex-boyfriend in the local art museum.

Included on the DVD is a small documentary about the making of the film which, unlike most "Behind the Scenes" promotional segments that find their way on to the special features section of DVDs, actually does give some insight into why the film was made and how long it took. Given its history (they clearly ran out of funding and couldn't finish it for six years), in my mind it is elevated from an ok film with a confusing and underdeveloped plot, to a "good effort" film with a lot going for it. In a way, it might be worth watching the documentary segment first, to gain insight into the motivation of the producers while watching the main feature.