Solitary Fragments

Director: Jaime Rosales

spain • 2007 • subtitled colour • anamorphic • dolby digital stereo • 128 mins

The winner of a slew of Goyas (Spanish Oscars), director Jaime Rosales’ new film Solitary Fragments makes ingenious use of split-screen techniques to tell two parallel stories. The first follows Antonia (Petra Martinez), the mother of three grown daughters, and the other Adela (Sonia Almarcha), mother of a small boy. The stories only overlap in that Adela moves into the same flat as one of Antonia’s daughters. The two women’s problems are the familiar ones of modern life: finding a place to live or securing a job, money troubles, overcoming disease and coping with one’s children or siblings. For about a third of the film, the action is shown in split-screen or what the film-maker calls ‘polyvision’. The wide-screen image is divided into two halves, showing events from two different angles on the left and the right of the screen. The device is not only an inventive formal strategy but an apt visual metaphor for the characters’ sense of isolation.

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