December 3, 2021, the film Tengamos la Festa en Paz (“Let’s
Celebrate in Peace”)—a family musical directed by Juan Manuel Cotelo and
produced by the company Infinito + 1—premiered in cinemas around Spain.
After the long covid lockdown, the feature film finally made it to the big
screen. But covid isn’t the only epidemic. Unfortunately, there’s yet
another plague—that of families breaking apart. The long hours spent at
home in the same space with family members have tested us all; and more
than once, friction has led to arguments that have ruined relationships.
A cheerful, fun, family-friendly Christmas musical
Cotelo uses the combination of music, humor, and Christmas to showcase a
family in which the parents are on the brink of getting a divorce.
The story revolves around a couple depicted by actors Teresa Ferrer and
Carlos Aguillo who have three children: Belén, Ángel, and Irina. The kids,
fed up with their parents’ marital crisis and constant fighting, come up
with a plan and write a letter to the Three Wise Men and Santa Claus,
proposing an ultimatum. The letter reads:
“Dear Wise Men and Dear Santa Claus,
We were very bad this year, but our parents behaved even worse. For their
sake, we had to punish them.”
But the secret behind this trap is that it’s not really a punishment.
Rather, it’s a gift of reconciliation and a new beginning.
They’ll be confined to their home under lock and key, with no screens or
distractions of any kind, so that they will have to look each other in the
eye and ask for forgiveness.
Through the different songs, the members of this family will bring to light
resources they have hidden within themselves that can help to repair the
damage done. Below, I’ll try to sum up a few of these new-found resources
by taking a closer look at some of the songs from the film’s soundtrack.
The first song, tango-like and a bit aggressive, presents a classic
situation that happens with families: they get lost driving somewhere and a
kid is frightened.
The lyrics place us in situations where arguments have reached such a point
that the love they once had for one another has disappeared. The wolves
they refer to are thieves of dreams, which may live both inside and outside
of the home.
This song, more on the melancholic side, takes us back to the mom’s
childhood, in the home where the family is going to celebrate Christmas.
The mom dreamed of having a strong family bond, like what she had as a
child, and regrets losing faith in that dream of hers when she realizes
that she is far from making those childhood dreams come true.
More fuel for the fire
The dad feels claustrophobic and anxious because of his job and his
ruthless boss who completely exploits him. He is totally consumed by his
work, and this negatively affects his marriage. So, he takes refuge behind
screens: his computer, his cell phone, and the television.
Grandma offers her own experiences and advice in this song. As Mother
Teresa used to say, “Love until it hurts. Real love is always painful and
hurts: then it is real and pure.”
The parents reflect on when they fell in love and ask God what happened to
This song is the turning point for the parents who decide to give it
another try. It’s about refocusing and looking at the person you love with
Like the first day
There are many distractions dancing around the couple which could derail
their concentration on the main goal: flirting with colleagues, work
stress, screens, the influence of others.
When the couple is overwhelmed by these distractions, it’s best to go back
to the beginning without losing sight of the main goal of reaching eternity
Let’s celebrate in peace
To keep the peace, there’s one trick that turns every situation around:
forgiveness. Reconciliation over time is a remedy for all wounds and can
prevent a small problem from becoming a big problem.
In short, it’s a film the whole family can enjoy, which gives value to
familial togetherness with restorative and hopeful messages.