Elite Review – Anna Parcerisas: Writer, director, producer
I read an article a while back saying that the main reason why we choose to unwind from the hustle and bustle of everyday life by watching TV drama is because of the way TV programmes challenge us and expose us to new ideas by putting ourselves into somebody else’s shoes for at least an hour. Right away, you find yourself asking questions such as, “what would I do in this situation?” or “How would I react?”. You might also identify with characters you never even knew existed. This is because the scriptwriting process entails developing a large number of episodes with strong, significant, and thought-provoking characters. The hope is the audience will eventually love to see them grow, as well as be influenced by them as they go about their day.
However, not all TV shows evoke that soul-stirring feeling as if travelling to an unknown country or to a mysterious place. There are those TV shows that even make us want to return and also stay on that roller-coaster ride forever. That’s one of the main reasons why I was hooked on Elite.
From the first episode of the first season, the series Elite invited me into a world where I wanted to spend more time. It brought me a mystery I wanted to solve and introduced me to a cast I wanted to get to know. From the first episode on, I felt immersed in the world of Elite in a way I hadn’t experienced for a very long time in a series.
Moreover, when I checked the feedback and reviews from viewers, a staggering 20 million household accounts were reported watching it worldwide within the first two months of release.
The thing that struck a chord with me about Elite was the innovative way the writers tackled controversial topics such as classism, homophobia, women empowerment, cultural conflict, and love.
On the one hand, Season 1 starts off with a “Who killed Marina?” murder-mystery. The close-up of a tense and shocked Samuel, one of the lead characters, followed by another close-up of the leading female inspector played by Ainhoa Santamaria from the hit TV historial drama Isabel. This tells us that something serious has happened before the encounter between Samuel and the inspector. We know the answer to the mystery resides in Samuel, and that’s what will be eventually unveiled in this first season. Before long, the three main characters of this season 1 are shown on screen for the first time on their first day of high school at Las Encinas: the primary location of the whole series. This is how three working-class students – Samuel, Nadia, and Christian’s become entwined with the wealthy and privileged kids of las Encinas after they win a scholarship to the exclusive bilingual high school.
Elite features a charismatic and a massively impressive cast and has something for everyone’s taste and interest: Gossip Girl’s expose of wealth, 13 Reasons Why and Big Little Lies’ style investigation flash-forwards, Skins’ inspired parties, and Skam’s coming-of-age drama. The main power of the series resides in the poignant storylines with a wide range of characters. For instance, Nadia’s character takes the role of the heroine. She deals with her own struggles as the only Palestinian Muslim student at Las Encinas. Her brother Omar, however, is left behind, selling drugs and battles with coming out when he starts having feelings for one of the white, wealthy students named Ander.
Nadia is seen as the perfect daughter through the eyes of her parents: her school grades are superb, she helps her father in the family grocery after school. She’s an intelligent character that starts a journey of self-discovery and growth from the beginning to the end of the series.
Marina is a rich girl with her own secrets, including suffering from HIV. She is determined to show her family and the world around her that she doesn’t take anything for granted. She is in search of another kind of happiness that the money and the materialism of her wealthy parents won’t ever give her. By contrast, her brother Guzman plays the role of the rich, bad boy, brooding sociopath in Las Encinas.
Season 2 tracks the dispute that takes place right after Marina’s murder. It’s a new school year, and all the characters have been affected in one way or the other by Marina’s death. A now isolated Samuel entirely recovers from the loss of Marina, whom he was dating. At the same time, he is trying to find money bail for his brother Nano, who has been wrongly involved in the murder. Marina’s brother sociopath Guzmán turns to drugs and alcohol and his girlfriend, rich mean Mexican girl Lu. She tries in vain to cope with Guzman’s anger and depression over his sister’s death. Nadia is still drawn to Guzmán despite her strict Muslim Palestinian parents. Meanwhile, Carla and Christian continue to cover up the true murder’s identity. Unlike Season 1, this season offers three new, complex, multifaceted characters to the cast. This includes an affair between half-siblings, drug trafficking mothers, fake online glamorous personas and much more.
Overall, the second season of Élite is mind-blowing and fascinating. The tone of the show becomes increasingly haunting, sexy and mysterious in the second season. The cinematography escalates to another level compared to season one in which it explores more angles while telling stories through the colours and lighting of the scenes. For instance, the unlikely romance between Samuel and Carla emerges as a cat-and-mouse game, providing us with endless butterflies in the stomach.
Still, in my opinion, without a doubt, the three new characters are the best thing about the show. Their presence at Las Encinas comes as a well-needed breath of fresh air when season 1 came to an end and the sadness and suffering from Marina’s death.
The new character of Rebeka feels like she left the set of Narcos to step in as Samuel’s and Nadia’s partner in crime. One of this season’s funniest moments is in fact, when Lu refers to her as “Narco Barbie.”
Overall, Rebeka doesn’t fit into the circles of the privileged at Las Encinas. Her mother’s empire from trading drugs depends on exploiting the vulnerable. And as Rebeka puts it to her mother, “The queen never pays the price. It’s always the pawn.”
Another of the show’s new characters is Cayetana, my favourite of Season 2 together with Lu’s brother, Valerio. Throughout the first season, I was hoping that at least one character in the show would possess the complex character traits of Cayetana and Valerio.
In the beginning, we see Cayetana as the archetype of a self-centred vain narcissist. Her Instagram is teeming with pictures of her luxury homes or which Louis Vuitton dress she will be wearing at a party. Surprisingly, deep down inside, she hides a very different reality from her online social media facade.
All things considered; this show has everything. The tenderness and companionship that this series conjures up are far from the accomplishments of wealth and superficiality presented at first.
Anna Parcerisas is an award-winning filmmaker born and bred in Barcelona, Spain. She grew up between the imaginary worlds of David Lynch and the marginal places and realities of Jim Jarmusch. Anna’s latest work as a director, NATIA, has garnered international recognition, winning awards globally, including Best Under 25 at the BAFTA recognised Underwire Film Festival and Best Short Fiction Film at the Kinofilm Manchester International Short Film Festival. Up-to-date NATIA has also screened at worldwide festivals such as FEST in Portugal. As a producer, she has wrapped on a short western called “Downward Motion”, which is currently at the post-production stage. She is also working on two music videos for independent artists and on the production of the audiovisual content of an app. Anna has also started the co-writing process of what it will be her first feature film.
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Link to Netflix’s TV Show Elite: https://www.netflix.com/gb/title/80200942?source=35Share This Post: