Login

Solas Review

Image for Solas

While a self-sacrificing matriarch is in Seville to stay with her daughter as her grouchy husband recovers from an operation, she enjoys a tender twilight liaison with the widowed octagenarian neighbour.

★★★★★

It’s ironic that Benito Zambrano’s placid debut should have joined All About My Mother in sweeping Spain’s 1999 Goya Film Awards (12 between them), as it couldn’t be more different from Almodovar’s exuberant masterpiece.

Yet, at the centre of each, is a self-sacrificing matriarch, here played with dignity, devotion and determination by the exceptional Maria Galiana. She’s in Seville to stay with her daughter (Fernandez) while her grouchy husband (De Osca) recovers from an operation.

But in attempting to transform Maria’s life, she also enjoys a tender twilight liaison with the widowed octagenarian (Novoa) from downstairs. Caught between provincial conservatism and urban isolation, Fernandez also impresses (despite the occasional melodramatic outburst) as the pregnant, thirtysomething cleaner who still resents her abusive, alcoholic father for ruining her life before it began. So it’s unfortunate that Zambrano should saddle this delicate tale of missed opportunities and unspoken feelings with such a trite ending.