Los lunes al sol (Mondays in the Sun) (2002) Film. Director : Fernando Leon de Aranoa

Fernando Leon de Aranoa affirms his status as one of the most gifted of a new generation of Spanish directors with the award-winning Mondays in the Sun. Cut from familiar cloth, but distinctive and unconventional in its execution, Leon de Aranoa’s film draws on a long line of European social melodramas in its examination of the trials of the modern-day Spanish working class. This is a film that departs from the archetypical working-class hero to paint a riveting and human depiction of men faced with a society which no longer values nor needs their labors.

Javier Bardem, as Santa, once again demonstrates why he should be considered in the top echelon of the world’s great actors with a multidimensional performance that exudes the complex array of feelings that unemployment and idleness bestow upon a man. When the shipyard in which Santa has worked his whole life closes, he and his ex-workmates struggle to overcome their increasing sense of desperation.

Working with an excellent ensemble cast and top-notch below-the-line talent, Mondays in the Sun speaks with a softly modulated voice that transcends the clichés of political accusations to leave us with a potent grasp of the real implications of globalization and economic progress. —Geoffrey Gilmore

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