Mondays in the Sun (Los lunes al sol)

Director: Fernando Leon Aranoa

(2002. English subtitles. Colour. Dolby digital stereo. 113 mins.)

Voted Spain’s best film of 2002, director Fernando Leon Aranoa’s Mondays in the Sun provides an understated yet affecting portrait of a group of Vigo shipyard workers who have been made unemployed by the globalised labour market. Javier Bardem plays the sad-eyed, short-tempered Santa, the self-styled leader of the group of male friends who meet most days in a local bar. He is the most articulate about his plight, but also the most paralysed by rage, clinging to the few tiny shows of defiance still within his power. Lino (Jose Angel Egido), who keeps a tight lid on the despair that mounts with each fruitless job interview, takes to dyeing his hair in the hope of making himself look younger. Others buy lottery tickets, hoping for good luck. They all feel unmanned by their inability to support themselves and their families, and the abundance of free time has turned their world into a series of perpetual Sundays. Director Aranoa’s film is more sorrowful than angry, emphasising its characters’ laconic camaraderie as much as their emasculated frustration.

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