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LOS LUNES AL SOL/MONDAYS IN THE SUN

"Everything they said about communism was a lie," quips unemployed Russian immigrant Sergei. "What’s worse is that everything they said about capitalism was the truth." That rueful spirit of post–Cold War, pre-unified Europe prevails in Fernando León de Aranda’s film, which was Spain’s surprise Best Foreign Film Oscar entry for 2002, beating out Pedro Almodóvar’s flashier and more daring Hable con ella/Talk to Her. In a seaport in northern Spain, a cadre of laid-off shipyard workers deal with the idleness and demoralization of the dole while stewing in bitter memories of their quashed strike of three years before. They hang out in a bar run by one of their number (he bought it with his severance pay), and it’s kind of a Cheers where everyone knows everyone else’s name but the rest of the world has forgotten them. León de Aranda jazzes up his Ken Loach–like style and social concerns with offhand irony reminiscent of Seinfeld, and Javier Bardem (bearded, bloated, balding, he’s almost unrecognizable) anchors the picture as Santa, the lusty, cynical hothead of the group. In Spanish with English subtitles. (115 minutes)


Issue Date: August 8 - August 14, 2003
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