I wrote about this when it was opening film at last year’s Cannes, when the critical elite rather turned their nose up at it.
Shame. It’s pretty good stuff really, a glossy, entertaining, well-made European concoction, directed by Iran’s Asgar Fahardi and starring uber couple Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem as well as South America’s leading character actor, Ricardo Darrin.
Penelope’s returning to her Spanish village after years away in Argentina. She’s back for a wedding, but her beautiful presence awakens old feelings all round, especially in local vineyard owner Javier Bardem. Family feuds break out in the bars and bodegas. Age-old resentments fester.
And then there’s the big wedding scene, beautifully directed and orchestrated, with its central drama that will power the rest of the film to a fraught and melodramatic conclusion. It’s Spanish, madre de dios y caramba…
Plot-wise it’s possibly full of holes, but it works because that’s what the film’s about – irrational hatreds, resentments, mistrusts, jumping to wrong conclusions. It’s well worth a watch – these two Spanish stars always are.