Wednesday, October 17, 2007


After my recent lament about the lack of good Spanish cinema this year, we are now seeing the releases that have the potential to change the situation. Last week I saw the latest film from Iciar Bollain, Mataharis, and I’m happy to say that the verdict is positive.

The film focuses on the lives of 3 women who work in a private detectives agency recognisably located in Madrid's Gran Via. We have one older woman (played by Nuria González) whose life outside of work has clearly reached a dead end with a husband with whom she hardly communicates. Of the other 2, the busy Eva (Najwa Nimri in the best performance I have seen her give) tries to cope with the demands of her work and bringing up 2 young children; on top of this she then discovers a secret about her husband (it's not for nothing that she works where she does!) that makes her reconsider her relationship with him. The third main character is Inés (María Vázquez) who finds that her passion for her job is challenged when she is asked to take on a case that is by no means what she expected it to be. Via the different stories of these 3 women, we get a portrait of the struggle to reconcile domestic life with the demands of work, as well as being reminded that the typical work of a private detective isn’t exactly Raymond Chandler.

The film lacks the power, as well as the almost unbearable constant tension, of Te Doy Mis Ojos, the last film from Bollain. However, after such an accomplished work, Bollain has no need to demonstrate with every film that she can get to grips with the “big” issues. Things are looking up for Spanish films, and with the release of El Orfanato and the upcoming Las 13 Rosas the autumn looks promising.

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