El Bola, a 12 year old boy a.k.a. "Pellet" is a 12 year old boy raised in a violent and sordid environment. Embarrassed by his family life, he avoids becoming close to classmates. The ... See full summary »
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Agustín Díaz Yanes
El Bola, a 12 year old boy a.k.a. "Pellet" is a 12 year old boy raised in a violent and sordid environment. Embarrassed by his family life, he avoids becoming close to classmates. The arrival of a new boy at school changes his attitude towards his classmates, and friendship. The heart of the story is the change in El Bola's life, at almost all levels, after befriending this new classmate. Written by
At present, unfortunately, Spain is suffering the highest level of child-beating and badly treated wives of all Europe. Around 60 women are killed each year by their husbands, ex-husbands, lovers, etc., and every day children are taken into hospitals after being savagely beaten by, mostly, their fathers, though there are also frequent cases of both mother and father taking part in the treatment metered out.
It would not be strictly correct to affirm that this film, `El Bola' directed by Achero Mañas, reflects this sociological situation, and probably was not the intention anyway: there were other important issues that had to be unveiled, too. However, in brief, we could say that the film is basically concerned with the physical punishment Pablo (El Bola) receives from his father, a small business owner, frustrated and bored with life. Pablo receives refuge from a sympathetic family, but the problems do not stop there.
Well directed, above all keeping the violence within strict proportions to the import of the story, and in general good interpretations which do not tend to unnecessarily exaggerate the crude and difficult situations being enacted. Special mention, of course, is well deserved for the main actor Juan José Ballesta, about 11 years old. He had a very secondary rôle in `El Embrujo de Shanghai' (qv), and thus surprised me at being able to deliver such a performance in this film: obviously the director's careful handling of the young lad, as well as some excellent rapport with the other actors, especially Nieve de Medina, holds the film on course.
I hope that this younger generation of Spanish directors, such as Achero Mañas and of course Fernando León de Aranoa (Los Lunes al Sol, qv, also with Nieve de Medina) can keep up the good work in the sociological sphere with real human stories to tell.
WARNING: this film necessarily includes a scene of extreme child violence carried out by his overwrought father, and thus care should be taken by parents. The Spanish rating of only for over 13s should not be taken seriously: over 18 would be more appropriate. The scene is short; the film is not only about violence as it has many other ingredients. However, this brief scene is very hard on the senses.
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