It is films like these that made me fall in love with Spanish cinema. Catalan director Agustí Vila’s psychological drama “La Mosquitera” [Eng. Title: The Mosquito net] is a portrait of a dysfunctional albeit well-to-do family. It is an exceptionally well written and directed film, and to see that it had managed to win only a handful of relatively minor awards is disappointing – must have been one of those that slip through the net each year. Although without a doubt, this is the best new Spanish film I’ve seen all year. Surprisingly, this is only Agustí Vila’s second full-length feature. I hope he gets to write and direct more such films in future.
Alícia just can’t communicate with husband Miguel. She nevertheless forces him to put up with their teenage son Lluís’ eccentricities, and accumulating pets from shelters is just one of them. Lluís doesn’t talk much either, but at least his mother manages to connect with him. María, Miguel’s mother suffers from Alzheimer’s and husband Roberto is finding it hard to cope – he’s generally foul tempered and wants to commit suicide. Ignored by his family, Miguel is drawn to the new housemaid Ana, and when Alícia wants some time off and asks Miguel to leave, he embarks on an affair with Ana. Add to this, Alícia’s sister, a single mum, also has serious issues with her young daughter. Everybody wants to change, but find it easier to be in denial than face the truth.
The DVD extras include some deleted scenes which give us additional insight into the characters, but the final cut is still good as it is.
The performances by all the actors are excellent; beautiful as ever Emma Suárez who plays unhappy housewife Alícia is melancholy personified, Geraldine Chaplin who plays the ailing María doesn’t say a single word, but is as convincing a portrayal as can be. Ana the migrant maid is played very well by gorgeous Martina García, one can see her maturing into a very serious actress. But the best performance had to be from Eduard Fernández, who plays beleaguered husband Miguel with admirable restraint. The cinematography is of very high calibre, but it is the exquisite screenplay and direction by Agustí Vila above all else, that makes this film a gem. Needless to say, Highly Recommended Viewing..!