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Sweet Hours (1982)

Dulces horas (original title)
The past is a riddle to Juan (Inaki Aierra), the playwright. He is tormented by it - by memories of the elderly father who went off, and the young mother who committed suicide, and he has ... See full summary »


Carlos Saura


Carlos Saura
2 wins. See more awards »


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Cast overview:
Iñaki Aierra ... Juan
Assumpta Serna ... Berta / Actriz / Teresa / La madre de Juan
Álvaro de Luna ... Tío (as Alvaro de Luna)
Jacques Lalande Jacques Lalande ... Tío
Alicia Hermida ... Tía
Luisa Rodrigo Luisa Rodrigo ... Abuela
Alicia Sánchez ... Olga
Pedro Sempson Pedro Sempson ... Juan
Isabel Mestres ... Marta
Julien Thomast Julien Thomast ... Pablo (as Julien Thomas)
Marion Game Marion Game ... Amparo
Ofelia Angélica ... Sofi (as Ofelia Angelica)
Clara Merin Clara Merin ... Lucía
Pablo Hernández Smith Pablo Hernández Smith ... Juanico (as Pablo Hernández)
Magdalena García Magdalena García ... Martita (as May García)


The past is a riddle to Juan (Inaki Aierra), the playwright. He is tormented by it - by memories of the elderly father who went off, and the young mother who committed suicide, and he has written a play, Sweet Hours, which contains the key scenes of his early life. The play is in rehearsal and he attends the sessions, watchful and absorbed. He is searching for something. Juan slips in and out of the actor reconstructions and his own memories. Finally, light dawns on Juan, he dredges up the repressed material, and his Oedipus Complex is resolved. And Juan falls in love with Berta (Assumpta Serna), the stunning young actress who is rehearsing the role of the mother.

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La Vals
Composed by Maurice Ravel
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User Reviews

Oedipus gets his mother back from the dead
8 May 2016 | by Charlot47See all my reviews

A film one can take on various levels. The overt story is of Juan, a man whose emotions are frozen in his childhood at the point when his beautiful sexy mother, loving the boy too closely after his father abandoned them, took an overdose in front of the hapless child. These traumas he seems unable to leave behind, living in their constant shadow. We know he is trapped, because his practical sister Marta has got on with her life, marrying and having three children while he broods alone.

The siblings can be seen as two halves of Spanish society. One lives in the present, without any apparent illusions, while the other is mentally in a past he cannot escape. The siege of Madrid, its population short of food and fuel being bombed nightly by the Germans. The absent father, in his case safe in Argentina with another woman. The mother, without any authorised outlet for her desire, who flirts shockingly with her pre- teen son. The unfeeling uncles, one of whom brags of his exploits fighting for the Germans in Russia while the other matter-of-factly takes the boy to his usual brothel for an early initiation.

Though Juan's mental landscape can be pitied, even if he does rather revel in it, there is a strong temptation to view his search for lost time as comic rather than tragic. What is shown of his prosaic father and over-romantic mother, to say nothing of the somewhat eccentric family surrounding them, might suggest laughter as a response to their woes. After all, they are well-off middle class with a nice Madrid flat and a maid (who lets young Juan feel her breasts for a peseta a time) plus, most important after 1939, are on the victorious Nationalist side. Even his mother's suicide, heartlessly cruel to the boy, is done in an Emma Bovary style of drama.

The suspicion of black comedy is reinforced at the end when the actress Berta, long unsure how to relate to Juan, works out that she must treat him like a ten-year-old and starts scrubbing him maternally in his bath. He has got his mother back from the dead, pretty and loving and all his!

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Spain | France



Release Date:

15 February 1982 (Spain) See more »

Also Known As:

Dolci ore See more »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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