Wednesday, 6 January 2010


While on his way to work, phlegmatic salaryman Pablo accidentally rear-ends the car in front of him, but shows little consideration for its driver, Sonsoles. When he later discovers that she filed a claim against him citing an imagined personal injury, Pablo decides to continue making her life a misery by making anonymous obscene phone calls to her late at night and stalking her. During his campaign of intimidation, he witnesses Sonsoles picking up her 15-year-old sister Maria from school, to whom he instantly feels an attraction. He begins to pursue Maria, and believes his dreams have come true when she returns the same amount of attention to him. But as they continue to carry out their questionable affair, Sonsoles comes to realise the identity of her tormentor, and is keen to exact her revenge.

On paper, it reads like another tedious journey down the same route as Lolita, engaging a similar dynamic with the precocious seductress and the businessman in a midlife crisis. But The Weakness of the Bolshevik is much more like Lucrecia Martel’s brilliant La Niña Santa in that it denies the audience what it expects. Pablo is a thoroughly unlikable protagonist, but his hawk-eyed voyeurism immediately loses its power as soon as the character of Maria introduced. Actress María Valverde steals the show as the unconventional nymphet, reducing Pablo to a position of complete passivity. It might not be a must-see, but those who take a chance on it will find it difficult to stop watching.

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