Solas

I'm getting a little embarrassed by the number of Spanish films I have been recommending in case anyone thinks I'm in the pay of the Spanish Film Board.

Not that Spanish cinema really needs me to champion it with the number of consistently excellent films that appear every year.

Solas (meaning Alone) is in fact quite an old film - it was released in 1999 – but it was new to me when I watched it recently.

It is an unsentimental and often very moving film about the difficult relationship between a mother and daughter, forced by the illness of their violent husband/father to spend time under the same roof.

Maria, 35, was estranged from her family when she left her home village for the city only to swap rural for urban poverty, and lives alone, bitter and (when the film starts) pregnant from a boyfriend who has long since done a runner.

Her elderly mother Rosa, is initially an unwanted guest not least because she forces Maria to face up to her own problems but as the film goes on the two learn to appreciate each other.

And ultimately there is some kind of redemption in what otherwise is a very bleak landscape.

I probably couldn't describe watching Solas as a wholly enjoyable experience, but it is beautifully scripted and brilliantly acted - and, like all great films, it stays with you long after the credits have rolled.