IMDB, after winning several festival prizes (for actor, screenplay and a Critics' Award), the film has yet to be commercially released in its home territory, Spain itself. Given the current political and economic situation there, I guess this should come as no surprise, for the movie simply nails its target to the wall gracefully and completely. No contest. As directed and co-written (with Jesús Gil Vilda) by Xavi Puebla, shown at left, the film is as strong in characterization as it is on plot, pace, place and dialog. If the finale feels suddenly truncated and the last line unnecessary, that's little concern -- considering all that has come before. The NY Post's Kyle Smith would shit a brick having to sit through this particular indictment of everything Smith loves about big business.
Antonio Dechent (above), who has graced SCN for a decade or two now in roles large and small. He's always first-rate, and here, in his Willy Loman mode (though he's brighter than Loman ever was), he is radiant: smart, scared, nimble, sad, and trying desperately to succeed in an environment in which any kind of honestly-attained success is just about impossible. (The screenplay is very smart about how and why this is the case.)
María Valverde (above, center left, of King of the Mountain). How these two bond and work together is beautifully handled. The third wheel -- an American big-wig with whom Salva needs to connect -- is played by Nick Nolte, below, who gives a just-right, barely-there performance that packs quite a subtle punch.
Spanish Cinema Now, next Sunday, December 16, at 5:45 pm at the Walter Reade. (Click here for tickets.) A U.S. release? One would hope so, particularly with Nolte in one of the roles. And let's also hope even more that it can be seen soon on its home turf. Like the great, nearly unseen and highly political Italian film Valzer by Salvatore Maira, this one appears also to be a prophet without honor in its own country.