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La Spagnola Review

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As 14 year-old daughter Lucia (Ansala) looks on, Lola (Marceli), a fiery Spanish woman, is scorned when her husband (Palomeres) not only leaves her for a blonde Australian girl, but spends the family fortune on a new car for the mistress. And then he dies. Amid her mother's tirades and quest for revenge, Lucia searches for her own footing in life.

★★★★★

Despite emanating from Australia, this strident study of small-town manners is conducted primarily in Spanish, with a smattering of Italian and English thrown in for good measure.

As if carried away by the Latin undertone, debut director Steve Jacobs allows the action to begin at fever pitch and scoot ever upwards; spitfire housewife Lola Marceli seeks revenge on Helen Thomson, the Aussie blonde who lured away her shiftless husband, Simon Palomares.

Caught in the crossfire is pawky teenager Alice Ansara, whose embarrassment at her mother's tirades turns to admiration as she recognises the intractability of the racial and cultural attitudes with which she has to contend.

Despite committed performances, this is never more than a barnstorming melodrama.