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Spain, 1999 (MIFF 2000, International Panorama)

Director: Benito Zambrano

Winner of the Berlin Film Festival audience award last year, Alone is a gritty story about a mother and daughter, their relationship and its compelling consequences. This remarkable new film is the notable debut of Andalusian filmmaker, Benito Zambrano. Maria has lived away from her parents for a long time, making ends meet by doing odd jobs. Bad tempered, and an embittered alcoholic who has made bad choices with men, Maria has been dumped by her married lover who discovers she is pregnant. Her mother, a dignified woman who has lived her whole life in the country, brings her ailing husband into the city for surgery. Staying with her daughter, she strikes up a friendship with the next door neighbour, Nachbar. The warm relationship that develops between them contrasts with the loveless bond between mother and daughter. Long hidden secrets are soon revealed, as Maria's troubled past and her father's violent streak is explored in this exceptionally engaging film. Directed with compassion and understated confidence, Alone is highlighted by outstanding performances.

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