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Joaquim de Almeida,
"Chicas" a French film conceived and directed by playwright Yazmine Reza turned out to be a disappointment, when it showed on a French international channel recently. The author of "Art" and "God of Carnage", among her best known plays, was trying her hand in a different medium, cinema, for which, evidently, she was not well equipped to do. Supposedly this is a rehash of her 1997 theatrical piece "A Spanish Play". It sounded as though it could have been autobiographical, since she dedicates the film to someone we took for a Spanish relative.
A Spanish woman, Pilar, living in Paris, goes back to Spain with her famous daughter, Nuria, to liquidate a property still left behind. Nuria has been the object of a much rumored romance with an actor. As they get back to Paris, Pilar gathers her clan to introduce the man in her life, Fernand, a man of a certain age who has been living with her. Only Nuria and another daughter, Aurelia, who is married, attend the dinner. The third daughter, Christal the third daughter does not come, preferring to go for an outing with her bored lover.
Basically, nothing happens in the story. It almost seems a pointless effort, since the only highlight is the tension between Pilar and Aurelia. The girls keep sending nasty messages about her to one another. The favorite is clearly Nuria, who is beautiful and is in the limelight. Aurelia is a stage actress rehearsing what appears to be a boring play. Finally Christal confesses to her lover she is pregnant, but gets no reaction from the man. Only Pilar seems to be the happy and well adjusted person having found love with Fernand.
Carmen Maura, the great Spanish actress, is Pilar. She keeps things moving, although the screenplay does not let her do much. Andre Dussollier appears as Fernand. Emmanuelle Seigner, Valerie Dreville, and a silly Christelle Tual are seen as the three daughters. There are shots of a loving relationship between mother and the small girls in Spain.
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