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Rated NR

Drama, Foreign
This compassionate drama from director Fernando Leon de Aranoa won Spain’s Oscar equivalent. Picked over Pedro Almodovar’s acclaimed film, Talk to Her, it ran in the American Academy race for Best Foreign Film because of its commanding performances that convey desperation and despair with a realistic edge. Javier Bardem packed on a few pounds to star as one of the 200 shipbuilders laid off after a dockyard closes. He resorts to booze and babbling at the local bar, where the rest of the unemployed men flock to wallow in their depression of no longer being breadwinners. One man cringes in the humiliation of being supported by his factory-working wife; another man survives on free cheese samples at the supermarket; another one tries to mask his natural-aged look with hair dye and trendy clothes to get a new job. This fascinating and empathetic look at various reactions to a blown male ego is clear evidence why it was awarded.

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