Solas

Movie Review by Susannah Macklin

Starring: Ana Fernandez, Maria Galiana, Paco De Osca

Director: Benito Zambrano

That Benito Zambrano’s gently moving tale has taken so long to reach our screens is certainly not a testimony to its quality, but moreover difficulties owing to a premise shadowed in the other poignant Spanish tale ‘ALL ABOUT MY MOTHER’. Zambrano’s story however, appears to cut a solitary figure as it partly meanders through the relationship of big hearted Maria Galiana and her difficult daughter played with bitter verve by Ana Fernandez. Theirs is not a simple or easy bond as the daughter blames her trite alcohol fuelled drudgery on her upbringing.

Mother comes to stay with daughter in the city when her father is taken ill in the local hospital and the two make some unsettling discoveries about themselves and each other. As time passes the raw contrast of the women’s urban and rural lives actually begins to draw together their similarities as the story progresses and we see that they are not that different. The layers are gradually torn away to show two caring, loving women, though one has accepted the hand that fate has dealt her with little or no regret for the only life that she has known. Even on forming a delicate friendship with her daughter’s neighbour, her mind frame remains unchanged though both their lives are transformed.

The film does rather seem to ‘cop out ‘ towards the end with serenity coming in all the right places – but we still can’t help but feel greatly moved, a bit bereft, and strangely, slightly better for it!

4 out of 6 stars

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