Spain in the 1950s. Montse (MACARENA GOMEZ) is no longer young, has lost her youth, locked away within the four walls of a sinister apartment in central Madrid caring for her little sister (NADIA DE SANTIAGO). Montse’s mother died giving birth to the girl. Her father (LUIS TOSAR) couldn’t bear the loss and left his family. Montse is forced to act as father, mother and older sister.
Obsessive and suffering from agoraphobia, Montse hides away from life. She takes refuge in Our Fathers and Hail Marys, the offshoot of her fanatical religious upbringing. She is a seamstress but her only link to reality is her little sister who is fast growing up. She is now 18 years old.
One day Montse’s impenetrable little world is breached. Carlos (HUGO SILVA), her young and irresponsible neighbor, has an accident. He crawls to the nearest place he could drag himself to, Montse’s apartment, seeking help . . .
So goes the story of the Musarañas thriller (Shew’s Nest/Shrews to the international audience) that won the Best Film Award at the Latin Beat Film Festival in Tokyo last 13 October. Directed by Juanfer Andres (Spanish) and Estaban Roel (Mexican), Shrews was produced by the popular writer-director Alex de la Iglesia and Carolina Bang for Pokeepsie Films, and Kiko Martinez for Nadie Es Perfecto Entertainment, and counts on a formidable cast. Now on its 11th year, the Japan Latin Beat Film Festival showcases the best of current Spanish and Latin American films. As usual, it opened in Tokyo (9 – 13 October), after which it goes to Osaka where Shrews is screened on Saturday, 25 October, and finally to Yokohama (7 – 9 November).
This year Japan has added gastronomy to the festival not only as in food to actually eat; El Somni (The Dream), by Franc Aleu, bagged the Best Documentary award for its original approach to the culinary and creative world of the Roca brothers and their famous restaurant, El Celler de Can Roca, in Girona, Spain, the Best Restaurant of the Diners Club World’s 50 Best Restaurants Academy Awards 2013 edition.
While the Latin Beat is being held in Osaka, Shrews will also be showing in San Sebastian, Spain, raising the curtain on the San Sebastian Semana de Cine Fantastico y de Terror.
Alex de la Iglesia and the entire Musarañas troupe are elated at the prize they won in Tokyo. In the words of De la Iglesia, “it gives you a feeling that your work is internationally recognized and my films have always had more international impact than national, and is something that fills me with pride. Not for me, but for everyone involved in the movie.”
To date Musarañas has participated in the Toronto, Austin and Sitges Film Festivals. However, the general public in Spain will not see the film until it premieres there on Christmas Day.
Topmost: Carolina Bang and Alex de la Iglesia, left and right, Musarañas producers. Source: LBFF Facebook
Cast and production: Juanfer Andrés’ website (www.juanferandres.com)
Other images: LBFF Facebook; Musarañas press releases