We are all Aces
by David González
- Galician director Alfonso Zarauza puts his name to Aces, a small autopsy of the Spanish crisis through the eyes of a young mother played by Lola Dueñas
Everyone knows the story: the Spanish house bubble burst a few years ago after the global financial meltdown contaminated it, destroying with it everything that had been built around it. The recent past (and the present) of a country in which things have gotten worse without anything (or little) being done to avoid this is the main story behind Aces [+see also:
interview: Alfonso Zarauza
film profile], the second film by Galician director Alfonso Zarauza. The Brussels Film Festival is hosting it in its official competition after it was already present at the Nantes Spanish Film Festival, before being released in Spain this coming August.
The road that Aces takes to tell the story we all know is done through the eyes of Neneta (a stunning Lola Dueñas). She is the mother of a woman who is living out of a van along the Almeria coast, selling bracelets on the beach. One day, her partner Lobo (Luis Tosar) disappears on the exact day he was supposed to start working. With nothing left, she is forced to return to her hometown in northern Galicia. But things are not easy on her return. Her mother still has a chip on her shoulder about the past, during which time they had a big fight. Her neighbours welcome her home in gest, but no one gives her a job. Eventually, as she throws herself into an old relationship with Furón (Juan Carlos Vellido), she gets a job on a construction site. In a completely masculine environment, Neneta does her best to confront all risks, thanks to the increasing support she receives from colleagues – up until she becomes part of the “aces” – those who earn more and get the most recognition for their building skills.
Aces, from the beginning plays with a story that speaks to the spectator: that which Zarauza shows on his screen, being so close to the Spanish audiences that he is recognisable immediately. From abandonment to impotency before the economic crisis (lack of employment and/or salary, loan insolvency), Neneta’s journey brings with it the public in every moment, even if sometimes this means falling for banalities, which in turn create a gulf between the film and a critical spectator. The closeness and the humility of the film, produced by Maruxiña Film Company and ZircoZine, are some of its strong points, as is Lola Dueñas, recently seen in more ambitious films including Falling Star [+see also:
interview: Luis Miñarro
film profile] and Belgian Alleluia [+see also:
interview: Fabrice Du Welz
film profile]. Aces starts from something small to represent what happened to us: in the end, in order to survive the crisis, we are all “aces.”
(Translated from Spanish)