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New Spanish Cinema

Saturday, November 7, 2009
8:30 p.m. The Shame
David Planell (Spain, 2009)

(La Vergüenza). The opening frames of this beautifully composed drama introduce us to a seemingly normal bourgeois home (nice furniture, rock posters, Jean Renoir books), but already something is not quite correct. A woman, Lucia, awakens alone, only to be greeted by her adopted Peruvian son Manu with silence, and by her husband Pepe with condemnation: “There’s no water again!” It’s not just the pipes that are blocked, but an entire family’s emotions. As tentative parents Lucia and Pepe struggle with Manu and wonder if they should “return” the boy, an adoption caseworker arrives, who may decide for them. Their Peruvian maid may help, but she has secrets of her own. Director and writer Planell (winner of many awards for his short works) here perfects a measured tale of human imperfections and fears, aided by an amazing cast. The film won Best Film and Screenplay at the Malaga Film Festival.

—Jason Sanders

• Written by Planell. Photographed by Charly Planell. With Alberto San Juan, Natalia Mateo, Marta Aledo, Norma Martinez. (107 mins, In Spanish with English subtitles, Color, 35mm, From Pragda)

Preceded by shorts:
Two of Planell’s prizewinning short films, Ponys (2005) and Charisma (2003), will be screened.

• (Total running time: 127 mins)