- Nadie hablará de nosotras cuando hayamos muerto
- No one will talk about us when we are dead (1995)Agustín Díaz Yanes had been writing for the movies for eight years before tackling this personal project. The training years paid off in terms of personal as well as professional maturation. Although not "autobiographical" in a literal sense, the film contains personal memories about his parents and, in a more general sense, a notion of the impact past history has on the lives of ordinary people.The story has two distinct narrative strands that fruitfully converge in a deeply felt reflection on the value of solidarity and an earnestly ethical view of the value of human existence. The first one is a thriller, and tells of a police operation gone wrong and a band of Mexican drug dealers trying to recover a secret notebook that contains the details of money-laundering operations. One of the leading hit men (Federico Luppi) is going through a crisis of conscience and experiences a conflict between his job and the demands he feels God is making of him (his daughter is terminally ill, and it is suggested she could be killed by his bosses if he does not succeed). The second strand is the central one and tells the story of Gloria (Victoria Abril), the alcoholic wife of a comatose bullfighter who abandoned her husband and ended up as a prostitute in Mexico. She was at the botched police operation and took the notebook with her. With the drug dealers after her, she moves back to Madrid to start a new life.The focus of this line of development is her regeneration as a human being, which is marked by the friendship and support of her husband's mother, Doña Julia (Pilar Bardem), who had been a teacher and a feminist under the republic and now survives by giving private lessons. The character becomes the soul of the film, its moral center. Although betrayed by life, she has not betrayed her ideals: she keeps close to her ex-republican friends and has through decades and in spite of poverty and pain held on to her ethical principles. In Doña Julia, we see the dignity of a dynasty of women history has passed by.Victoria Abril, on the other hand, incarnates the need to overcome poverty and succeed at all costs, and in her evolution we see some kind of redemption. In the film's early scenes, she follows the leads in the notebooks, and tries to steal money from the drug dealers, but this only gets her deeper into trouble. Finally, she accepts that it is only through personal effort that she will manage to get ahead. Hers is an extraordinarily detailed performance, expressed through an intense physicality: Abril performed her own stunts, and her small body being abused is a potent image of powerlessness combined with the need to raise herself above poverty.The film was received enthusiastically by critics and the public. Victoria Abril won the Silver Shell at the San Sebastian Film Festival, and Díaz Yanes was awarded the Special Jury Prize. It also won eight Goyas (including best film, best new director, and best lead actress) in a remarkable year for Spanish cinema.
Historical dictionary of Spanish cinema. Alberto Mira. 2010.