Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Carmen del Valle, Miguel Gutierrez, Andres Gertrudix, Alfonso Vallejo, Manuel Morón
Director: Achero Manas
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Kids & Family
Pablo (El Bola) is a 12-year old boy raised in a violent and unforgiving environment. Embarrassed by his family life, he retreats from his classmates, engaging them only through a dangerous game. The arrival of a new boy a... more »
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Pain and scarring
Rizzo | Denver, CO | 08/14/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is a movie story that deals with two young boys, two families, and their two different worlds. El Bola is the nickname for Pablo and he encounters a new boy, Alfredo, at school and their friendship drives them to discover each other's world.
Pablo comes from a home where communication is sparse as he lives with his abusive authoritarian father, a weak mother, and a grandmother whose need for personal care only burdens the situation. Pablo's father works in a hardware store and Pablo is often confined to work there also. Before Pablo was born, the family lost a favorite son and now the frustration, anger and resentment is taken out on Pablo, who is brutally mistreated by his father.
It is only after the climactic abusive attack that Pablo runs away to Alfredo's family who then seek avenues to help the boy. We don't know too much what happens after the abuse is discovered. We do see Pablo discuss with the authorities the true horror he suffered.
On the other hand, Alfredo's family life is more caring and with communication. An interest is shown in family structuring. Contrary to the loving family life, Alfredo's father is a tattoo artist, considered a darker profession. He also gives his young son a tattoo.
Pain and Scarring in different ways
According to the director, Archero Manas, the movie is not about child abuse, but he said the parellism is the two different ways pain and scaring are inflicted. He said that the father who is a tattoo artist gives his young son a tattoo which is indicative of pain and scarring, while the abusive father inflicts pain and scarring through violence.
The DVD is clear and crisp with readable subtitles. Included is "The Making of El Bola" as the children, cast talk about their characters while the director gives insight to his film. The movie has won numerous awards, including La Goya in 2000, which is equivalent to an Academy Award. Film Movement is an organization that distributes quality foreign movies to be distributed as otherwise would not have. .....Rizzo
Spare the Rod
Vince Perrin | Stockton, CA USA | 11/28/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Child abuse, as incidents increase each year, is uncomforable for parents, which is why the topic is rarely filmed. It doesn't provide a feel-good experience, even with a happy ending, and most certainly it is not box office. With "El Bola" in 2000, some intrepid Spanish filmmakers took it on and didn't flinch. Their searing and sensitive low-budget movie, which indeed is uncomfortable to watch, won more than 30 top international awards, including four Goyas (Spain's Academy Award.) Its DVD release needs to be seen.
The scenes of physical, emotional and verbal abuse of a 12-year-old boy by his father, while his enabling wife protests feebly, are unsparing. The young victim is befriended by a classmate whose parents provide a caring contrast and who discover the abuse. The boy is rescued, yet his shocking monologue at the end will leave you uneasy long after the credits roll. You come to realize that undetected child abuse is so common that it is occurring even as you watch. The cast and crew are flawless and their little movie is unbearably moving.
Fathers and sons . . .
Ronald Scheer | Los Angeles | 09/18/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This multi-award-winning film tackles the difficult subject of domestic abuse and in particular a father's abusive relationship with his twelve-year-old son. The nature of this abuse is revealed slowly, so that like any outsider, we don't see the full extent of it until we've already formed opinions about both characters. The film contrasts their relationship with that of the boy's new friend at school, whose father is a tattoo artist and seems on the surface to be more potentially troublesome as a parent. But as we watch him with his son, we see how is firmness is an expression of his caring and love for the boy. The boys' two homes represent mirror worlds with contrasting emotional dynamics.
The drama in the film emerges as the abusive father's treatment of his son becomes gradually apparent to his son's friend, and we become informed of the near inability of anyone outside the family to rescue him. There is no easy resolution to this dilemma, and we are left with a sense of urgency about this disturbing social problem. The performances of the two twelve-year-olds are wonderful, as they become friends, exploring the early stages of their growing independence. Shot in the streets of Madrid, the film has a gritty, gray urban ambiance, and key scenes are played out along a railway where commuter trains rush by and schoolboys play death-defying games across the tracks."
"El Bola" makes you realize that this might be your neighbor
Jenny J.J.I. | That Lives in Carolinas | 05/04/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I've also seen movies like "Boys of St. Vincent" and "Song for a raggy boy", but this movie about child abuse is just different. El Bola is played by Juan Jos? Ballesta (my favorite young actor) who also appears in the interesting and touching "Planta 4a". He has also a very small role in a movie a mentioned before: "Song for a raggy boy" (as the young friend of the teacher in the flash backs).
"El Bola" makes you realize that this might be your neighbor boy's story. If you start watching the movie, you feel that something's wrong with El Bola ("Pellet") but you just don't know what. And I guess that's one of the strengths of this movie: it's not only told in a natural way, but it's rather suggestive. And a lot of people are disappointed that the movie's just cut after 88 minutes without a proper ending, but I think that's the way it goes in real life too : a life/story is like a roller coaster: it has it ups and downs, but the only thing that matters is where it ends.
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.
I hope that this younger generation of Spanish directors, such as Achero Ma?as and of course Fernando Le?n 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.