To be near her husband while he recuperates from surgery, a woman from a rural area in the south of Spain stays with her estranged daughter in the city. The daughter—angry, alcoholic, and in a relationship similar to her parents’—resents her father’s enduring cruelty and her mother’s tolerance of it. The mother, who’s both critical and compassionate, befriends the daughter’s neighbor—a sweet-tempered man who’s everything her sullen, domineering husband is not. As the story probes the disappointments of the two women, paralleling the mother’s stoicism and the daughter’s stagnation, the camera subtly maintains an emphasis on their faces even as the actors begin to move out of frame—a striking technique that makes the power of their performances all the more evident. Despite a melodramatic score that at times seems almost facetious, the movie’s tone is sober and sincere, its unlikely ending persuasive (1999). Written and directed by Benito Zambrano; with Ana Fernandez, Maria Galiana, and Carlos Alvarez-Novoa. 98 min.