Brian’s ‘El Bola’ Review
May 28, 2012
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Achero Mañas‘ “El Bola” is a Spanish film from 2000 that has won awards from Prix de la Présidence Belge de l’Union Européenne 2001 to the Goya Awards, among many others.
It revolves around about a boy named Bola (Juan José Ballesta), who goes to school, plays (somewhat questionable) games with this friends, and acts like any other kid, no matter what continent you happen to live on.
Though Bola is different because his father beats him.
The interesting thing about Mañas’s film is that when we first see Bola’s family, his father, Mariano (Manuel Morón) appears stern, but no means abusive, while his soon-to-be-friend, Alfredo (Pablo Galán) is moody and appears to be the most troubled of the two.
Another thing that I like about this film is that there’s not necessarily any reason given as to why Mariano does what he does, though his wife Aurora (Gloria Muñoz) is powerless to stop him.
The contrast between Mariano and Alfredo’s father (Alberto Jiménez) is an interesting one in that the director seems to be commenting upon certain societal stereotypes. Alfredo, works at a tattoo parlor (which he probably owns) and has a few tats of his own, while Mariano owns a hardware store, which Bola helps him with.
Seeing the film, it’s easy to see while “El Bola” has been successful internationally, though I don’t recall ever hearing about it here.