29 March 2004 | khatcher-2
Highly explicit European social drama - difficult to accept in North America
Unfortunately this film, which predates `Te doy Mis Ojos' (qv), escaped my attention, such that I have only now come to see it, billed as the fare for the great `Night of Spanish Cinema' on the state-run RTVE last Sunday. My biggest grouse is that they tend to put these films on too late, conveniently forgetting that most people have to be up and about, fit and ready to go on Monday morning. Maybe this is the reason for Monday being the lowest productivity-output day of the week, as, logically, many people succumb to the inevitable `mondayitis', for which no multinational pharmaceutical company has as yet come up with a suitable medication. Long live `mondayitis, I say, just as long as RTVE can find enough films of sufficient import to keep people up and wading through excessively long publicity breaks. However, on several occasions recently, I have found myself getting to about half-way through a film, when the second break for commercials appears, and I just switch off and retire to bed so as to be fresh and invigorated for the next morning.
`Sólo mía' is another film about gender violence in the family. It adopts a totally different attitude to the subject matter when compared with Icíar Bollaín's film which is at once more subtle in its telling. `Sólo mía' shoves the nitty-gritty between your teeth so that you can choke on it: some of the scenes are too explicit, one might argue, and are numerously frequent; in `Te doy Mis Ojos' the hard subject matter is more carefully handled.
However, Paz Vega, who starred in `Lucía y el Sexo' (qv) the same year, put in a recommendable performance as the badly beaten and tortured young mother; Sergi López as her husband plays his part well, though at times seemed to overforcefully portray his performance, thus almost beggaring belief. It should be said that his rôle was very tricky, to say the least. I feel that Luis Tosar carried off his performance in `Te doy Mis Ojos' more convincingly, with better balancing between the extremes of tensions and feelings.
The rest of the cast form a good back-up to the leading couple.
This film also points an accusing finger at the legal system, in which hypocritical legalities and aloofness does little - or nothing - to help solve this horrifying situation so evident today in so many headlines in Spain today. Something has got to be done: more than 70 women were killed in `gender violence' in Spain in 2003.