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The dazzling multistory "Hard Times (Malas Temporadas)" is clearly a masterpiece in foreign cinema. The film plays itself out as a latino "Magnolia" and one can question whether it pays homage to that film. Director Martin Cuenca develops an interconnecting puzzle of conflicted characters in modern Spain: you have your social worker mom who's teenage son entraps himself in his room each day in order to avoid interaction with others, you have your solitary ex-convict who stalks his former cellmate, you have your amateur pilot who dreams of going to Miami (talk about going to Hard Times! Just Kidding! Like former Florida Marlin Livan Hernandez said after winning the 1997 World Series "I Love Miami"), and you have your paraplegic beauty who plays high infidelity from her rich husband by sleeping with the Cuban (Yea! Cubans rule! Sorry! Being a Cuban American, just had to say it!). The hardening of this tangled web is the time when their lives intertwine into a central fixated message about the love of life. The cast was nothing short of stellar! Respected Spanish actor Javier Camera again demonstrates why the camera loves him with his astute performance as the ex-convict Mikel. Nathalie Poza was stunning as the stressed social worker mom Ana. Eman Xor Ona was sturdy as the Miami dreamer Carlos. The screenplay of "Hard Times" must have been a hard one to develop because of its crossover components but I do commend Cuenca and Alejandro Hernandez for their triumphant scribing effort. You will find yourself having a easy & good time and having a worthwhile cinematic experience when you go see "Hard Times (Malas Temporadas)". ***** Excellent
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