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Lola, a hot-blooded Spaniard, is deserted by her husband for a cool and calculating Aussie blonde. Lola is pregnant again but she and their daughter Lucia are left to starve while Ricardo spends all their savings on a sleek new set of wheels for his mistress. When he dies unexpectedly the family fortune, one flash car, remains with the mistress. Despite all his betrayals, Lucia sides with her father. Desperate and destitute in a country she doesn't like or understand, Lola's quest for revenge begins. Caught in the tempests of begrudging love, revenge, sibling rivalry, jealousy and passion, fourteen year old Lucia must find the strength to survive on her own terms. Aided to break free of her mother by her eccentric Aunt Manolo she struggles to find her own identity and her own quest for justice puts her on a collision course with her mother. Written by
While the DB reviewers all seem to be unsure of what to make of this film, it does indeed have a growing tradition in style with other Australian quirky movies such as Strictly Ballroom, Priscilla, and the Baz Luhrmann Red Curtain series. The staging, cinematography, execution and editing of shots are quick, colourful and energetically paced.
This allows the bizarre story to unfold, and the characters to develop, with explanations for their motivations being revealed gradually. The genius lies in Anna Maria Monticelli's beautiful script which intelligently begins to unravel events that have already occurred without explanation, all in a comfortable linear format. Such imaginative exposition is rarely given without confusing flashbacks, and is the heart of this film. I found the structure elegantly clarified all of the initially obscure scenes.
The mother Lola never becomes sympathetic, however Lola Marceli's sterling debut convinces the viewer of a person becoming truly disturbed by her transplanted identity as Spanish woman amongst Italians, in an uncaring Australian society, deserted by her husband and scorned by her neglected daughter. Alice Ansara's Lucia cool-as-a-cucumber performance is understated and believable, and all the more commendable for her excellent language skills which define her character, and serve as some of the funniest bits of business as she gently toys with her clients' own lack of linguistics.
And of course Alex Dimitriades yet again demonstrates his smouldering leading man persona which we first saw in 1998's masterful "Head On".
Lourdes Bartolomé's turn as catty sister Manola chews the lush scenery and deftly steals the show, particularly in the dancing and cooking sequence! I might point out that she is most entranced by a courgette (zucchini), rather than a cucumber, as one reviewer has written...
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