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  • ¨Piedras" turns out to be a moving drama well realized by Ramon Salazar about human relationships . A brooding story where predominates intense drama and above all , there's a good feeling . The tale introduces us lives of people under the focus of lower-middle and high class in a big capital , Madrid . The small, everyday stories of a group of citizens who live , work and suffer in a great city , and the little secrets that they hide . The flick gives a short description about their parallel existences . All of them are endeavoring to remove the stones that insistently appear in their path or , worst , that are in their shoes . They are five Cinderellas : Adela (Antonia San Juan) , Leire (Najwa Nimri) , Maricarmen (Vicky Peña) , Anita (Mónica Cervera) in search of prince charming and a new chance in this unfortunate lives .

    The film tells the touching story of various protagonists , conflicting trajectory of various hapless women and their lovers . This is an interesting and thought-provoking drama in long length and yet with an air of naturalness and credibility . This is a thought-provoking as well as pleasant flick filmed with great sensitivity and feeling . This overlong film knows very well inter-cross these troublesome roles , five women who have not been able to organize the large "stones" in their fateful existences . The picture is very interesting as well as provoking , though some infinite sadness follows the film at times . The flick moves in fits and starts most of which would be desirable , with more traps the viewer resists any kind , and some moments of enjoyment and others quite a few disconcerting . It's an intelligent and touching story although sometimes is slow moving and tiring but is finely developed with sense of style and sensibility . Attractive drama filled with emotion , artistic scenes and plenty of sensitivity . The picture relies heavily on the unusual relationships among frustrated , unfortunate and betrayed women , but it doesn't makes boring , as it results to be entertaining . This is an attractive movie plenty of nice feeling , drama , stirring scenes and tragic love stories . Dramatic screenplay by the same filmmaker , including some autobiographic elements . The film enjoys a breeze as well as moving final , and gives us much to think about it and in which doesn't deceive or dramatize unnecessarily . Along these lines, it is clear that writer/filmmaker Salazar tries to create an unforgettable picture . Apart from that , it has a touch Pedro Almodovar that always feels good . Most of the film locations are around Lisbon , Almada , Portugal and Madrid city , which is location where director Salazar grow up , though he was born in Malaga . The picture is primarily supported by sensational players, as Angela Molina , Vicky Peña , Antonia San Juan , Najwa Nimri , both of whom give sensational acting . All of them carry out their characters to perfection and show a look that says it all . The support cast is frankly nice , such as Lola Dueñas , Andrés Gertrúdix , Maria Casal , Daniele Liotti , and Susi Sanchez , among others . Furthermore , there stands out Monica Cervera as mentally-handicapped daughter .

    Emotive and stirring musical score by Parcal Gaigne , an expert composer who has composed and conducted a lot of scores such as ¨Mensaka¨ , ¨Silencio Roto¨ , ¨Lasa and Zabala¨, ¨Azuloscurocasinegro¨ , ¨Gordos¨ and many others . The soundtrack flows great with the film in every way , and creates a catching atmosphere in every moment , adding a sensitive leitmotif . Colorful as well as evocative cinematography by David Carretero , being shot on location , he has photographed known films as ¨Dalton versus Lucky Luke¨, ¨The nun¨, ¨Malas Temporadas¨ and ¨Utopia¨ . The motion picture was compellingly directed by Ramón Salazar . This Spanish director defines his first feature ¨Stones¨ in this way : "In life, we first organize large stones such as love, friendship, family, and a career ; in this way, we will find space between these to fit smaller stones, our small necessities ; if you act in an inverse way, you will not have the room for larger stones¨. Here he presents a fresh portrait with agreeable as well as dramatic moments , but mostly so that you shrink the heart with these unlucky people . Ramon Salazar has written various successful pictures such as : 2010 ¨Tres Metros Sobre El Cielo¨, 2012 ¨Tengo Ganas De Ti¨ , 2002 ¨Amnesia¨ and directed a few movies : ¨10.000 Noches En Ninguna Parte¨ , 2005 ¨Twenty Centímetros¨ and this ¨Piedras¨or ¨Stones¨ .
  • Several story lines are interwoven here around different women characters. The shoes they wear serve as an indication of their troubled lives. All are transformed at the end of the movie. Adela (Antonia San Juan) leads a brothel; Her daughter Anita (Monica Cervera) is retarded and has a restricted life. Leire (Najwa Nimri) is a shoe designer with problems and loses her boyfriend; Maricarmen (Vicky Peña) has lost her husband and now raises the children from his deceased former wife. Isabel (Ángela Molina) is a bored rich lady.

    Other characters are used to connect the five main women characters. In storytelling not everything is given away in the beginning: Some connections are established surprisingly late in the movie and that adds to the experience. The shoe-theme is driven to extremes: For example when Leire as a shoe-designer and working in a shoe store where she steals her shoes faints, she breaks one of her heels.

    In editing small connections are made between the scenes. A telephone rings, a cigarette is lit, a song, etc. are used to make the connection and fast cuts. Frequent change of storyline keeps it from being boring or reaching TV-levels. It is strongly music-driven to set tone and atmosphere. The cities of Madrid and Lisbon serve as the backdrop for the stories, and shots of those cities are used to extend the story beyond the characters. One of the more moving shots is when Anita, who makes the same walk every day, widens her walk and restricted life from the relative calm of her street to the busy main road: How the restriction of space is visually translated is well done. As with most Spanish movies a lot of storytelling is done visually, using the soap-like stories as the simple backdrop. There is a poetic ending that is somewhat romantic and sentimental but is still beautiful.

    As Ramón Salazar is too much in love with his own material it is overlong. Some scenes are kitsch and on the soap level, including the acting (Adela's love life, Isabel's doctor). The shoe-theme is exaggerated and is a weak metaphor.

    This is often compared to Magnolia because the structure is the same. But they are different. Magnolia is more technically competent, but somewhat mechanical. This has more the ability to translate emotion and atmosphere visually. After seeing this, you are inclined to immediately move to the new movie-city: Madrid.
  • newland8031 August 2004
    Since I watched it for the first time, "Piedras" is a personal favorite and one of the few pictures I actually could watch over and over again. The great screenplay depicts the lives of a bunch of women (all of them somehow interconnected) with deep understanding and sensibility. Ramón Salazar achieved a compelling film in his directorial debut, and proves himself as an efficient actors' director.

    Not that all performances are excellent, though. Of all leading ladies, they range from average (Najwa Nimri) to very good (Vicky Peña), but the standing ovation should be directed to newcomer Mónica Cervera, who convincingly plays Antonia San Juan's retarded daughter. Enrique Alcides is irresistibly charming as the girl's male nurse, and there are nice small turns from Andrés Gertrúdix, Geli Albaladejo and the director himself, Ramón Salazar.

    "Piedras" is beautifully written and filmed, when I watched it I got so moved that I couldn't stop thinking of it for days. I highly recommend it.
  • danielfrancisc15 March 2005
    Well i do disagreed with the other comment posted. Piedras is much much better them Magnolia or any of the other films that were mentioned.

    specially about non real characters, i think that someone just wrote that only because he never lived in the Spanish society like i did (and i'm not Spanish), is a very real film with real characters, very well done by one of the best Spanish actress Antonia San Juan.

    about be a European film in contrast with an American film, well we different societies, personally i dislike American modern films a lot (i like the classics and some of the Andy American films but they are very few).

    Is a film about the continuous Constitution of a person, liked or not we all make mistakes but some can learn about the mistakes.
  • Women have never looked so attractive and pathetic as in Salazar's film Piedras. Although editor's cut here and there might help the film, it is exciting and enjoyable with an intense mark from Pedro Almodovar's latest films. 5 different women are coping with their male partners and families. Beginning with several different stories bound to meet as the plot goes on, Salazar portraits his women characters in the same neurotic and border-line behaviour familiar to Almodovar. A kleptomaniac high society lady with a fattish to smaller shoes, a burlesque house madam taking care of her disabled daughter, a drug addict dancer obsessed with her former boyfriend and a taxi-driver taking care of her late husband's disturbed kids, all roaming the streets of Madrid in well designed scenes. Using some of Almodovar's familiar actresses, the director succeeds in it's first film to give depth to all the characters sharing the film, and to create genuine sympathy with each of them. The women controls the plot line, and the men are bound to be left with each other, eventually... Surprisingly good for a first film, and worth the time in any standard. It is noticeable that Salazar hesitated in some needed guidelines to the actresses, but an impressible act is shown anyway on the screen, especially by Monica Cervera, which played in his former short film.

    A must to all Almodovar's fans, and enjoyable to all.
  • This 2002 Spanish film has many interesting cinema moments, an elaborate structure, and good acting that makes it stand one step ahead of the crowd. Yet the lack of one convincing theme or story line makes the overall movie look a little bit dis-oriented. The structure of the movie - five parallel stories involving Madrid women fighting with the hardships of live and love, stories that are interleaved and synchronized together up to one point - seems a little bit too sophisticated for what is after all a collection of themes that seem to be combined from the soap operas or talk shows that we see some of the characters watching as some kind of common background, with stories of relationships reminding Almodovar, but without the extra step that makes the great director movies hard to forget. And yet, director Ramon Salazar shows a good control of the actors and artistic means, and I am really wondering why he had made so few films until now.
  • The movie begins a with mentally-challenged girl with bright yellow sneakers looking skyward on a Madrid street corner and being spellbound by a passing plane. The movie examines the life of five women—Adela, Leire, Maricarmen, Anita & Isabel—who have completely different lives and choices of shoes. Their shoes is the first superficial, yet affixed with some glancing meaning, clue we get at their fragile identities. In a theatrically embroidered and embellished way, a podiatrist tries to esoterically reveal the deepest secrets of a woman's souls by the sole of her feet. The premise is risky and slightly contrived, but the tone and depth of the movie takes a daring plunge for the good.

    What may have been light-hearted and superficial, quickly switches gear with the a superb dysfunctional couple scene that leaves the viewer riveted for minutes, seeing the love or lack thereof, the pain, the confusion, the hope, the needs and escape mechanisms develop through minutes different rooms of the house and down to the street and eventually below... What a scene (!) , but there will be others as effective to follow and strengthen the strong characterization and directing displayed in this slice of life affair.

    Moving along, a woman has lost the husband she loved and inherited his kids and his taxi, while another has completely lost her husband emotionally, sexually, intellectually, but not physically. A ghost, a pending divorce… reproach, regret & remorse. A new love? Can you love a mirage? Can you love the person in the mirror? Can you love someone you can't love? Or think you can't love? Can you love and live life even though it will always be somewhat hopeless? Yet isn't it exactly these hopes and dreams that keep us here grounded and in a spectrum of relative happiness? A lot of deep themes emerge and the final act brings people and ideas together to coalesce in an existential crisis with no clear cut solution, definitive decision or effective healing. Maybe a elusive thought, a fleeting feeling, but a lasting appreciation of life and of the artistry and intellect of the film. Live. Live again. Rewind the reel. Unveil the real, the important; the big stones (piedras) of life. The rest is just details.
  • mishory24 September 2002
    I saw this movie at the 18th Haifa film festival, and it is one of the best I've seen this year. Seeing it on a big screen (and I mean BIG, not one of those TV screens most cinemas have) with an excellent sound system always enhance the cinematic experience, as the movie takes over your eyes and ears and sucks you into the story, into the picture.

    The movie presents a set of characters, which are loosely inter-connected. Their stories cross at certain points, and the multiplicity of story lines reminded me very much of the great Robert Altman and his exquisite films. But the true hero of the movie is obviously the city of Madrid, which provides the backdrop for the entire movie. It houses the characters, contains the pavements and roads on which they walk, and sets the background atmosphere for all the events, all in beautifully filmed scenes.

    The movie returns again and again to certain themes (shoes, for instance), and in essence Salazar makes his metaphores more and more understandable to the viewer as the movie progresses. He combines the views of the city with the shots of the characters, and elegantly matches the feeling of the scene to the background. A set of talented actors helps him portrait a wide variety of characters. One excellent example is the scene in which Juaquin takes Anita across the street for the first time. It might not work on a small screen, but it gave me goose bumps easily on a big screen.

    The message of the movie is very positive, and accordingly the movie is light and funny at times. The music along the movie is usually pop, with a few instrumental pieces (I hope to put my hand on the soundtrack one day, although I seriously doubt I will).

    All together, I came out of this movie with a sensational feeling, and I'm not easily impressed (you'll have to take my word for it). For this and more I give this movie a solid 8/10.
  • stensson2 January 2003
    Spanish films are into a, if not Golden, definitely a Silver Age. Piédras is another example of a movie that takes people and their conflicts seriously. Although the feelings are strong or nearly at life or death-level, they still aren't really melodramatic. This could happen.

    There are different stories here, which become connected. One is about the retarded girl, who doesn't dare to pass the street to the next block. One is about the middle-aged woman who finds the lover of her life in a foot fetischist. Another is about the girl with drug problems who's lover leaves her. Still another one is about the madame of a brothel who (almost) finds true love.

    Definitely worth seeing. It's in Spain the moviemakers take women seriously.
  • Everybody leads a different life, but none of the lives these women lead turned out the way they planned... slowly they realize that if they want change to happen it's only themselves holding them back.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    In life, we first organize stones (Piedras in Spanish) such as a career, family, friendship, and love. In this way, we shall find space between these to fit smaller stones, our small necessities. If you act in an inverse way, you will not have enough room for larger stones. The five protagonists in this film are women who have not been able to organize the large "stones" in their lives. Ramon Salazar, a Spanish motion picture director defines his first feature Stones in this way. The film tells the parallel, conflicting trajectory of five women: Anita (Monica Cervera, 1975-), Isabel (Angela Molina, 1955-), Adela (Antonia San Juan, 1961-), Leire (Najwa Nimri, 1972-), and Maricarmen (Vicky Pena, 1954-).All are endeavoring to remove the stones that insistently appear in their path or, worst, that are in their shoes. They are five Cinderellas in search of Prince Charming and a new chance in life. The best story of these five Cinderellas is that of Anita (Monica Cervera) who also stars in "20 Centimeters," "Busco," "Crimen Ferpecto," "Entre Vivir y Sonar," "Hongos," and "Octavia." Sarge Booker of Tujunga, California
  • Daniel Karlsson19 July 2005
    I had looked forward to more from this one. It is worth seeing, since it deals with parts in life many people come in contact with, such as breaking-up-couples, how to start over etc. It had some interesting parts for me, in that sense. It is more mainstream than I had thought. I feel that it is aimed at a large audience; it is populist in the modern South American movie style, and that includes the fact that it is slightly over-sentimental, and not completely non-Hollywood. And something that disturbed me is the overly bias for the bizarre family situations (for example, all young men in the movie are gay, and the families are all split up); I already had enough of the prostitutes, transvestites, you name it, in Almodovar's I have see it in all modern Spanish films? Maybe it has something to do with historical reasons (the Franco years etc.), and clashes between the new contra old traditions in Spain today. To sum up; it was worthwhile, but no masterpiece.
  • I know that some films (I mean: European films), that are very bad films, are being regarded as great cinema by certain "critics", only because they're non-American. I saw the 8.1 IMDB score for this film and noticed the fact that this was being selected for certain big festivals. Don't let this fool you! Unless you're one of those people that likes mind-numbing films like this, and call it great art afterwards, skip it! The film contains one hilarious scene after another (a similar, Italian, film popped into my mind, the terrible PREFERISCO IL RUMORE DEL MARE (I prefer the sound of the sea)). The problem with these films is that they're not only boring, like some other strangely praised films, but that they almost play like camp. I mean, let's face it, the acting is horrible (I mean: soap opera-level), the story has not one surprise (this has been done endless times before, connecting several storylines: SHORT CUTS, MAGNOLIA, PLAYING BY HEART, only much better), not one realistic character in it (some true freak-seeing along the way, notice the hilarious zombie-like daughter), and so on and so on.

    As if that's not enough, the film is 135 min. (count it!) long, and at the end the director opens his can of sentimentality. After a film with such hilariously bad dialogue and scenes that made the public at the preview screening laugh at so much incompetence, well... This is an insult to cinema, and only receives high ratings because it happens to be in "another" language, in this case Spanish. Strange world we live in...3/10
  • a pure reality bytes film. Fragile, beautiful and amazing first film of the director. Represented Spain on the Berlinale 2002. Some people has compared the grammar of the film with Almodovar's films...Well, that shouldn't be a problem...