Princesses Princesas

Director: Fernando Leon de Aranoa

Spain| 2005. Subtitled. Colour. Dolby Digital Stereo. 113 min

Two street prostitutes working a tough area of Madrid have a mutual sympathy that gets them through their hard days. Caye (Almodovar veteran Candela Peña) is a tough but wounded hooker who’s trapped in a depressed, whorefor- life mindset. She plies her trade from her girlfriend Gloria’s beauty parlour. From there, she and the other white girls glower disapprovingly at the Caribbean and Latin American immigrant streetwalkers who work the park outside. One of these is Zulema (Micaela Nearez), an infinitely more well-balanced Dominican woman who’s hooking only to support her son back home. They become friends after Caye helps Zulema when she’s beaten up by a crooked cop. Gradually, Zulema’s hard-won wisdom and dignity seep into Caye’s consciousness, liberating her from her own self-hatred and knee-jerk racism. Director Fernando Leon de Aranoa’s follow-up to Mondays in the Sun is a small miracle of controlled empathy. It seeks and finds the warm, beating hearts of his two protagonists, elucidating their particular dilemmas. Apart from the revelatory performances, there’s also great music from Manu Chao and Gato Perez.

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