This follow-up to Ulloa's little-seen Butterfly Wings displays a notable aesthetic rigour and intellectual clarity. Without such formal discipline, this psychological thriller might have spilled over into dubious exploitation, but like his haunted protagonist, the director/co-writer always pulls back from the brink. Entering a house late one night, a thief shoots dead the mother of a child, who stares in silent witness to his crime. Ten years later, the thief, Ismael (Elejalde), spots a mute, seemingly autistic teenage girl in the garden of a Madrid hospital. Gripped by an irrational fear of disclosure, he abducts Leire (Alvarez) and holds her prisoner in the semi-derelict house he shares with his possessive girlfriend Maite (Lio). Jealous of their captive's womanly body, Maite favours walking her in front of a train, but the initially resolute Ismael suggests blackmail instead. The fact that Leire, a helpless child trapped in a woman's body, is fetishistically manacled to a bed lends a dangerous, almost perverse erotic edge to some scenes. Bound to her by guilt, however, Ismael is also paralysed by her innocence, a purity he cannot defile, which he believes may yet redeem him. Twisted and tender.
Cast and crew
Juanma Bajo Ulloa
Juanma Bajo Ulloa, Eduardo Bajo Ulloa
Karra Elejalde Ana Alvarez Lio Silvio Marsó Elena Irueta