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The House of Bernarda Alba (1991)

A domineering, reclusive and ostentatiously pious widow in a small Spanish town keeps such close watch on her daughters that they are unable to have normal social lives. However, the eldest... See full summary »

Directors:

, (as Nuria Espert)

Writers:

(play) (as Federico Garcia Lorca),
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1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Suzanna Hamilton ...
Gillian Hanna ...
Maid
Patricia Hayes ...
...
Julie Legrand ...
Emma Lewis ...
Young Mourner
Mary Maddox ...
Emer McCourt ...
Beggar
Pauline Melville ...
...
...
Ann Heffernan ...
Mourner
Judy Liebert ...
Mourner
Stella Richman ...
Mourner
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Storyline

A domineering, reclusive and ostentatiously pious widow in a small Spanish town keeps such close watch on her daughters that they are unable to have normal social lives. However, the eldest is allowed to become engaged to an unprincipled young man, primarily for the financial advantages it will bring the mother, Bernarda. Jealousy and envy ensues among the other daughters. Written by Albert Sanchez Moreno <a.moreno@mindspring.com>

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Genres:

Drama

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Release Date:

18 December 1991 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Casa de Bernarda Alba  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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User Reviews

 
This House is not a Home.
18 April 2004 | by (Cyberia) – See all my reviews

Who'd have thought that Lancashire accents could portray rural Spain so effectively? Glenda Jackson and her colleagues get to the heart of the matter, desperate women in a poor and backward village...and that's the same thing the world over. Northern England is equivalent to Southern Spain in this regard, although the setting is definitely Spanish (with patios etc.).

These people would probably be happier if they belonged to the peasantry; worse for them, they belong to the "lace-curtain" set, with just enough status to burden them with the obligation of looking respectable. 100 years ago, that was truly stifling, and this domestic drama actually resembles prison-movies like The Hill (1966).

The essence of the story is that this is a household full of daughters growing old in the bitterness of spinsterhood because their tyrannical mother (Glenda Jackson as Bernarda) won't allow them to marry beneath their station - and everyone is beneath their station in this one-horse town. To make matters worse, Bernarda's husband has just died, and custom dictates that the family should go into eight years of mourning, similar to a prison sentence. This is especially galling to the youngest, Adela, whose head is full of dreams of love. I don't want to spoil things, but I will say that the ending is sudden and violent.

Glenda Jackson does a magnificent job, just as she did in The Maids (1974), and I am going to watch out for other movies with her in; I watched this one 3 times in the space of a week. A friend who has ties to the theatre-world exclaimed that it was spectacular and first-rate. Going back to The Hill, I am struck by how much Jackson's character resembles Ian Hendry's - physically thin and frail, but as vicious as an electric fence.

It's a pity this movie is so hard to get hold of; apparently other movie-versions of the play aren't as good.


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