A joyful family reunion takes place when Laura (Penelope Cruz) returns from Argentina to small hometown Spain for her younger sister’s wedding with her two children, rebellious teenager Irene (Carla Campra) and Diego (Ivan Chavero).
Her husband Alejandro (Ricardo Darin) stayed behind. Laura explains this to her family as “something came up at work.”
During the ebullient wedding celebrations, electricity is cut off by a thunderstorm which brings torrential rain, but the party continues until it is discovered in the dead of night that Irene is not in her bedroom. Newspaper clippings about a kidnapping four years earlier have been left on her bed.
The disappearance causes rain soaked panic as a search is made. It becomes clear she has been abducted. Then a ransom message is received, which demands a large amount of money. The message is that she will be harmed if the police are involved.
Everybody knows everyone else’s business in this picturesque grape-growing village. One of the things everyone knows is that Laura and Paco (who had purchased land from the family) were lovers before she left to live in Argentina and married Alejandro.
There is mistrust between family members. Alejandro arrives and Laura appeals to Paco (Javier Bardem) for financial help.
There is pleasure in watching three great actors – Javier Bardem, Penelope Cruz and Ricardo Darin doing their stuff, but Iranian director/writer Asghar Farhadi (A Separation, The Salesman, and About Elly) has made a film that has a huge cast of underdeveloped minor characters, and it is confusing trying to work out their relationships to one-another. Many questions remain unanswered.
The film premiered on the opening night of the Cannes film Festival in 2018.
Spoken in Spanish with English sub-titles.
Showing at UWA Somerville from Monday 28 January to Sunday 3 February at 8 pm.
ECU Joondalup Pines from Tuesday 5 February to Sunday 10 February at 8 pm.
Watch the trailer…