Panorama | Contemporary World Cinema
When Petra (Bárbara Lennie) takes on the much older Jaume (Joan Botey), a well-known sculptor, as her mentor for an artist’s residency, she gets drawn into a web of intrigue. The famously prickly and manipulative sculptor lives on a lavishly appointed estate with various discontented members of his household, including his son Lucas (Alex Brendemühl), with whom Petra flirts, his wife Marisa (Marisa Paredes), who treats the arriving guest coldly, and the housekeeper Teresa (Carme Pla), who is visibly preoccupied with unspoken troubles. Everyone seems to be harbouring some secret—but it turns out that Petra has one of her own.
To reveal more would spoil Jaime Rosales’ cunning mystery, which unspools across seven, precisely arranged chapters. (The cleverly written title cards alone may be worth the price of admission.) Merging the elements of a Greek tragedy and a daytime soap opera, Rosales crafts a superb formalist comedy filled with sensational turns, involving unexpected violence and sordid family skeletons. Yet the accomplished director continues to flummox his audience and defy expectations, continually transforming the material with the help of his uniformly superb cast. The result will shock, move and entertain—just not in the ways you might expect.