Tuesday, July 01, 2008


This debut feature film by David and Tristán Ulloa, adapted from author Santiago Roncagliolo novel with the same name by Tristán Ulloa, is truly a very well constructed film with an interesting story and with tech specs that are totally above regular Spain cinema, feeling and looking like a good European cinema drama.

Tells about a family that goes into silent turmoil until everything explodes. The father, the mother, the daughter, the son and the grandfather all keep to themselves whatever they are living, there is no communication in this family that have many things to keep to themselves. The lack of communication makes them try to solve as best as they can their own loneliness and neglect from the other family members.

Alfredo (Nancho Novo), the father, has been diagnosed with a brain tumor and has not many months to live; Julia (Elvira Mínguez), the mother, feels and is neglected by her husband and gets sexually explicit notes from a secret admirer; Marisa (Natalia Rodriguez), the daughter, is a self-hating teen that is in-love with her cousin Carolina (Lorena Mateo) and as puberty kicks she does her best to adapt to her sexual orientation; Sergio (Marcos Ruiz) is a lonely young kid that creates his own world and starts to see ghosts; and, Salvador (Celso Bugallo), the grandfather, needs to go back to the woman he really loves.

Also there are four secondary characters that complement this amazingly told story and revolve around Julia’s sister, Pilar (Alfredo ex-lover), also neglected by her husband Doctor Juan Luis (he’s the one that tells Alfredo the news about the brain tumor); both have two daughters, Carolina (Marisa love interest) and Vero (Sergio’s only friend).

I had to introduce all the characters as you have no idea how this extended family members interact in very credible situations that clearly show what loneliness and lack of communication can do to families. Perhaps the story plot sounds that can be melodramatic, but that’s what makes this movie outstanding as there is no melodrama in this fabulous movie that slowly builds-up the situation until the cathartic final moments. True chapeau to Tristán Ulloa for such a good screenplay and to siblings Ulloa for outstanding directing, cinematography, framing, movie ambience, music, editing and all the other tech specs.

Actors performances are excellent, especially Elvira Mínguez, so it is no surprise that she won the Best Actress award at the 2007 Karlovy Vary and at the 2007 Malaga Spanish Film Festival. The movie has some nominations that include the Best Adapted Screenplay and Best New Directors at the 2008 Goya Awards.

This is a movie that I highly recommend to mature audiences that enjoy good European dramas and yes, I will give it the lesbian interest label as Marisa struggle is portrayed in a credible way and the movie is worth seeing it.


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