7 May 2007 | inkblot11
Provocative story set in beautiful Madrid
American woman Zoe (Daphna Kastner, who also wrote and directed the film) is in Madrid to write a book about Spanish machismo. As the daughter of a Spaniard's brief fling with her mother, she is somewhat obsessed with the topic of the swagger displayed by Spain's male population. But, due to language barriers, she hires a translator, Antonio, to help her interview her subjects. Antonio, invariably late to appointments, takes a definite shine to Zoe and wants to help. But, he becomes so exasperated by her candid questions to those males who have been chosen to be part of the book that he, Antonio, often makes up the answers himself and/or tells the subjects to take a hike. Zoe is not pleased and believes Antonio is displaying his own macho inclinations. Yet, after a brief affair with a dastardly, American-born Madrid bookseller, she is ready to look at continental men in a different light. Will Zoe learn something about the universal ways of men and women? This is a very interesting film with a provocative nature. What does cause men, in Spain and elsewhere, to exert their dominance over the females they lay claim to? Are they only showing off or is it something deeper? And, are women to be regarded as fellow human beings or merely objects of beauty and passion? Kastner succeeds in laying the groundwork for a heated discussion on these topics, and more importantly, displays a veritable tour de force by writing, directing, and starring in this interesting movie. The rest of the cast is also fine, with Martin Donovan delivering a worthy performance as the loathsome bookseller. Costumes and production values are nice as well. In addition to the storyline, it is the Madrid setting that is most admirable, however, for it is utterly beautiful, in every way. Do you want only movies that go down easy or are you looking for something with more meat on its bones? If you can answer yes to the latter, get this one at your earliest convenience. It would be a great catalyst for a heated debate in any mixed-gender setting.